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Pace Yourself This Holiday Season: Five Tips for Going the Distance

Pace Yourself This Holiday Season: Five Tips for Going the Distance

Oh, for the days when Thanksgiving heralded the start of the holidays. Over the past few years, it seems that a kind of holiday creep has overtaken the days of autumn. The holiday roll-out in the U.S. has gotten earlier and earlier – to the point where Halloween is the official start of the holiday season carrying us straight through to Auld Lang Syne!

No sooner have we packed away the sleeveless tops, sandals, and windbreakers than the halls of stores far and wide are decked to the rafters with boughs of holly and everything else the season has to offer.

So with a whole extra month of “the holidays” staring you in the face whenever you turn on the TV, log onto Amazon, or run into your favorite store, I’m here to remind you to pace yourself. Here are five tips to help you go the holiday distance.

1) Get adequate sleep.

We hear it over and over again, but sleep really is the most basic of all the building blocks for mental and physical wellbeing. So many of us are moving through the world in a chronically sleep-deprived state, which affects everything from cognitive ability to weight gain to social/emotional intelligence and mood.

After hitting the proverbial wall due to burning the candle at both ends, I made a pact with myself to get eight hours of sleep every night, and it has served me so well. It can do the same for you – especially during these last two months of the year.

[Related: Five Ways To Prioritize Sleep And Wake Up A Better Employee]

2) Detach from screens.

You may laugh out loud reading this tip, but the more you can live in the moment and away from a screen, the better! There is no question that screen time can leech away feelings of wellbeing – especially when guilt starts creeping in because it’s keeping you up too late, or taking time away from your family.

I’m making a conscious effort to avoid the “screen abyss,” and to do life in more unplugged fashion whenever I can. I challenge you to do the same this holiday season. Doing a digital detox is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves.

3) Be open to receiving as well as giving.

Tis the season to want to give and give, and then give some more – however, if we’re only open to giving rather than receiving, it can actually serve to block the flow of abundance into our lives.

According to Amanda Owen, author of The Power of Receivingit’s important to have balance between the two. Giving as well as graciously receiving gifts or compliments keeps our channel of abundance open to new experiences and much joy.

[Related: The Importance of Receiving]

4) Know your “no."

And don’t be afraid to use it.

5) Let go of perfect.

Juggling the demands of work, family, and all of the decorating, shopping, socializing, donating, turkey roasting, gift-wrapping, card-sending, and all around merry-making that the holidays bring can drive a woman to be very UN-merry, and even more so if she has perfectionist tendencies.

Allow yourself to forget “perfect” this holiday season, and do your best to embrace simplicity and a feeling of contentment. Remember that “good enough” is often just that – good enough!

With the remaining holiday-time ahead, we owe it to ourselves to practice radical self-care, set strong boundaries, and approach it all as a marathon rather than a sprint. I encourage you to stick a note on the fridge or your bureau mirror reminding you that “Slow and steady wins the race!” this holiday season.

[Related: How to Survive the Holiday Season With Your Family]


Caroline Dowd-Higgins authored the book "This Is Not the Career I Ordered" and maintains the career reinvention blog of the same name. She is Vice President of Career Coaching and Employer Connections for the Ivy Tech Community College system and contributes to Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Ellevate Network, Medium, and The Chronicle newspaper in Indiana. Her online video series: Thrive! about career and life empowerment is on YouTube. A dynamic public speaker and coach, Caroline is a member of the National Speakers Association and the International Coach Federation and presents to audiences globally. She hosts the three-time award winning podcast, Your Working Life on iTunes and SoundCloud. Follow Caroline on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter.

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