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Monday Mom challenge: Enjoy the holidays -- without losing your mind!

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Do less, enjoy more and stay sane.

Oh, the expectation of the holiday season! What is supposed to be a time of joy and family togetherness often turns mom into a stressed out mess of gotta do this and no time to do that. This year, instead of getting caught up in the holiday madness, enjoy the holidays -- without losing your mind.

mom-destressing-at-holidays

It's easy to get caught up in the moment and before your know it, you're overwhelmed. Before the holidays even get here, make a plan to enjoy them more and stress less. Try these simple steps to help you stay sane this holiday season.

Get organized early

Just like in the rest of life, preparation makes a difference in your ability to succeed in a project and enjoy it in the process. Starting thinking about holiday priorities early, plan your holiday budget and schedule time for the things you love the most during the holiday season. Do as much in advance as possible.

Be realistic

You must also be realistic about holiday planning and scheduling. Just because you can slot everything into your online calendar doesn't mean it's realistic for all of it to happen. Can your kids really handle caroling and wreath making and a family party all in one day? If you try to do your shelter volunteer work and make eight dozen cookies and host a neighborhood event all in one afternoon, will you be falling over from exhaustion before guests are out the door?

Say no

As fun as that event at church is and the sleigh ride with the cousins, you can say no to an event. Yes you can. Recognize your family's limitations. You can also say no to yourself. If that voice inside says, "You need to do more," you can tell yourself, "No. No, I can't." And that's final.

Take time for yourself

As lovely and fulfilling as it is to do so much for others during the holidays, you've got to take time for yourself, too! Even if you have to say you're going to the grocery store but stop at the library -- or, better yet, the spa for a pedicure -- then do it. Get yourself some downtime to relax and recharge and you'll be better able to enjoy the wonder of the season.

Set a post-holiday goal

Set a goal for yourself for after the holidays to shift the focus just a bit from the intensity of the moment. Are you a knitter? Plan a day in pajamas with your knitting needles. Are you a runner? Maybe a long run with a good friend followed by hot cocoa at a favorite bakery. Whatever it is that will appeal to you, make it a goal for the final push through the holiday season.

More on preparing for the holidays

Monday Mom challenge: Start preparing for the holidays now
Relax! Time-saving tips for the holidays
Mom and Dad's holiday survival guide

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