Some Tips For a Stress Free Holiday…

As I’m writing this, I just finished making yet another batch of Christmas cookies.  Then I had to hurry up and get cracking on this blog or you wouldn’t be reading it right now! For me there’s always a love-loathe relationship with this time of year.

I love the holidays because there are so many fun traditions, time to spend with family, friends, great food and wonderful holiday treats.  The loathe part, or rather the dislike part comes in with the stress of shopping, buying and wrapping presents, plus writing and mailing cards, making of cookies,  and on and on… The good news is my holidays are so much better than they used to be.  I finally got organized and started to automate some of my holiday processes so it is less stressful.

Here are some of my secrets – I try to get as many presents pre-wrapped, and do ALL my shopping online.  Plus, I create my holiday cards online, pre-printed and mailed for me (I use Sendoutcards.com ) .  If I’m running behind or want to do a different kind of card, sometimes I go to Vista Print and have them print and mail to me.  Then all I do is put my envelopes in my printer and voila– my envelopes are pre- addressed legibly!  And I even get my son to put the stamps on them.

The key to relieving holiday stress for me is automate!  I can do this because I have invested my time into creating a plan.  I figure out what I want to do versus what I can have someone else do FOR ME.

You would  be amazed of the results if you took this simple process into your business.  Invest your time wisely by creating a plan. Write a list of what you want to do and how much time it would take you to do it versus if you paid someone else to do it.  I guarantee you, your time is worth a lot more money than if you hired someone from guru.com or elance.com to do it for you.  Check it out for yourself and see what you think.

Let’s all make a vow for the New Year to automate more processes in our personal and work life.  We are all guilty of putting way too many things are our own “to do” lists. We need to be more realistic in what we can actually do versus what we would like to do.

So, let’s save our valuable time and put it to good use, like spending it with family and friends!  I don’t know about you, but time with my family is very important to me because in my book, family and friends are what the holidays are all about.  It’s about having quality time catching up with old friends, colleagues and family. It’s about giving. We give of ourselves by giving our time as well as giving actual gifts to those we love.  And we can’t do this if we are too busy trying to do way more things than we ever have time for. Finally, we must remember to give to ourselves too. Take some time out for yourself and breathe, stop “doing” for a moment and just “be” in the moment, enjoy the here and now, don’t worry about what’s next… Because before you know it, you’ll blink and another year has gone by…

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Lost in Vacationland and Other Adventures…

Wow, I had hoped to communicate while I was on vacation, but it just wasn’t mean to be…. not sure what happened- maybe it was all the people that came to visit. Or maybe it was that I just needed to unplug, revamp and revitalize myself… Have you every had those moments, where you just need to take some time and unplug? I have to say it was really nice not being tethered to a computer and email and to enjoy my time off and all the company that came to visit.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to take more than 2 weeks off. In fact, the last time I was able to do that was back in 2000 when I was laid off and was out of work for 3 months. It was incredibly stressful, but I was still able to travel and visit family and shake things up. When I hear people going through major transitions like being laid off or going through a relationship break-up- one of my favorite survival tips is to go on a vacation- get out of your house and your environment and by doing so, it will shift how you see everything.

We spent over 16 days in our summer family home in Maine on Sebago Lake. We usually only stay there for 7 days, but because we were there for much longer, we were really able to settle in, and hang out. It was one of our best vacations ever because the weather was incredible and we had some old and new friends come and stay with us. We got our boat in the water, and had some picnics, hung out on the beach, ate lots of lobster and ice cream, not necessarily in that order… (Photo Above- That’s our house- I took the photo from our boat.)

The most fun thing we did was being able to take the boat out almost every day and enjoy the water. When we’ve been there in the past, the lake is usually too cold to get in it. This time since we were there for so long, the lake really warmed up and we swam a lot more than we’ve ever had. (Photo- That’s me driving the boat- pretty serious business ensuring everyone’s fun and safety!)

Also it was so much fun to have Lily (who turned 1 yr while we were there) come with us for the first time. Being in the car for 6 1/2 hours was a first for her. Taking her for a long walk before we left and stopping twice really helped out a lot. Thank goodness she got her sea legs and settled right in on her pillow next to Harrison, (my son) who was watching movies the whole way.

We found out that Lily who’s 49% Golden Retriever, didn’t get the water gene. She did not like being in the water at all. She did love running around and the daily hikes through the woods we took every day. The smells and interesting animals were very entertaining for her and I! (Photo- That’s Lily by the water- not ever wanting to get in it!)

So I hope you’re able to get a great, relaxing vacation in this summer. You really do deserve it- we all do! There’s nothing like taking time off to refresh, revamp and revitalize you and your family and your work/business. Hope you’re having a fantastic summer! (Photo- Harrison watching his movie while Lily sleeps during the ride to Maine.)

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