One thing that’s guaranteed in abundance during the holiday season and Christmas, followed by New Year, is stress. Oh, it is not a bad thing, but free time becomes a luxury. What with managing home, work and all the pleasant extras that celebrations are made of, places to go and things to do, you end up feeling like a zombie by the time you are half way through it.

Before you know it, the day ends, leaving you tired and flopping into bed. And then it is time to get on the hamster wheel again!

But you don’t have to repeat that routine because I am about to share a few tips to find time for yourself during this busy time of year. Believe me, I’ve tried them and they work, and I hope at least some of these appeal to you!

Here we go!

Less is more

That to-do list will certainly keep growing, partly because we can’t say “no” to some things or people, or because we think we can handle it all. The result? Burnout. Unhappiness and fatigue. We forget to enjoy the process and become too focused on accomplishing too much. So the trick is to revamp that list and prioritize. Only take on what’s absolutely necessary and finish that. Delegate the rest. No shame in asking for help. And do not feel bad to say no to the things you cannot handle. After you are done with the priorities on your list, don’t feel guilty to take time off to enjoy a cup of coffee, go shopping for yourself, or simply relax. There’s no need to be superwoman.

Routines are good

You know how we encourage children to stick to a routine? The same works for Mommy and Daddy. One of the things that works for me is waking up a little earlier than usual to create that “me” time. Just 15 minutes–to breathe, meditate, stretch, write in my gratitude journal. All these set the tone for the day. You could even enjoy a mindful cup of coffee by yourself to calm your mind before the day’s rush begins.

Take breaks through the day

Yes, once the rush starts, each hour will segue into the next and it seems like the day has vanished, leaving you stressed and with a sense of disappointment over all the things you meant to do and couldn’t. Overcome this by setting yourself reminders. Post-it notes are a good way to do this. Another way is to set an alarm. These reminders can be: take a deep breath, sit still for five minutes, drink a glass of water (or coffee) slowly, take a 5-minute walk around the block with nothing on your mind but to get yourself moving,  color a page (I know, right?), read a few pages from your favorite author, listen to a song, paint your nails…you get the idea. All these things add up and make you feel better. And if occasionally you wish you could play hooky, just do it!

Practice self-care

No, I am not saying take the day off and do nothing. Instead, make a list of all the little things you’d like to do, such as wash your hair, do your nails, clean up your desk, buy yourself a little something that makes you happy. Keep it simple. Appreciate yourself and all that you do.

Make a plan and stick to it

Half the issue with not finding time for ourselves is our tendency to make a plan, but allow it to be sabotaged by things that have no business making their way into it. Schedule your day and stick to it as much as you can. It can be tempting to add just one thing or two, but you know how that goes. Make sure you schedule free pockets of time for yourself, too! Make dates with your friends, if only for that cup of coffee and laughter.

Get your zzz

Half the problem with us is a lack of sleep. In our hurry to do everything, we stay up late and wake up early. As a result, our body slows down, makes us irritable and we end up with an out-of-whack system and lower immunity. Resolve to get enough sleep and see the difference!

Now tell me, which of these will you follow? And if you have tips, I’d love to hear them!