Jennifer Iannolo

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It’s easy, in a season of giving, to let yourself fall into the background and get steamrolled by all that’s happening around you. Leave that to the regular-old stressed-out folks whose bodies can handle that (for now — soon they’ll be right beside us).

Here are some things to remember as the calendar gets busier. As you read them, you might think to yourself, “Thank you, Captain Obvious.” But are you genuinely putting these things in place and making them a part of your life? Every single day? Consistently? Really?

1) Get it out of your head and on to paper.

That sense of overwhelm? It comes from all the information swirling around in your head, because it isn’t managed. Get it down on paper, put it in a calendar, and start getting responsible for how you manage your time and what can realistically be accomplished given where your health is at this very moment. Which leads us to the next one:

2) Make non-negotiable time for yourself.

Take a minimum of 15 minutes a day to sit quietly and breathe deeply, letting go of all the stress you might be experiencing. You might be sitting there thinking “Oh, sure, I’ll just duct tape the kids to the refrigerator and go sit quietly.” To that we say: Do what you need to do. The sticky stuff washes off.*

Note: This time in your calendar is NON-NEGOTIABLE. It doesn’t get put aside for any reason whatever. You MUST have time to sit and decompress.

3) Remember to breathe.

Aside from the 15 minutes we prescribed above, be mindful of your breathing when you get overwhelmed. A few deep, cleansing breaths can do wonders for the mind, body and spirit. If you need to, set a reminder on your phone or computer to take 3 deep breaths every hour. Even if you achieve only half of those, you’ll have done yourself a world of good.

4) Get enough rest.

Sleep is that other thing that falls to the wayside when we’re busy. After all, there are only so many hours in a day. Yes, and the most important ones are those devoted to helping your body recuperate from the day. So put sleep at the TOP, not the bottom, of the list.

5) Enlist your support network.

If you don’t have a support network, get one. It doesn’t have to be family. It can be neighbors, friends, co-workers, or someone you pay to help get things done. Don’t try to be a Lone Ranger and do it all yourself, because that leads to meltdown of the mental and physical sort. Seriously, there are people who love wrapping presents, or shopping. We’ve never understood them, but they are a rare gift in and of themselves.

*Our lawyers are going to have a fit about this, so we say very loudly, in bold letters: That is a joke.


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