Well-being During the Holidays

As I look at the calendar and think about the upcoming opportunities to celebrate with family and friends, I can feel a bit overwhelmed. The thought of keeping a clean house, purchasing food, and preparing for the many holiday meals that are shared reminds me that perhaps I can shake the overwhelm by practicing some self-care and goal setting.

Smart phone, coffee, pen and notepad with text " to do list", retro style

 Are you someone that makes lists of the things that you must accomplish? A to-do list is something that helps us stay on track. It is very easy to get distracted at work, home, and even at school. My sister refers to distractions as “shiny objects.” As a parent, she has learned to limit the “shiny object” distractions so that her boys can stay “on track.”

Prioritizing our to-do list or plan may be a needed step! How do you go about deciding what to accomplish first? Some say to do the easiest tasks first and cross them off your list. Others would advise to do the most difficult tasks when you are at your freshest. Some folks are best and brightest first thing in the morning. Others feel that the morning is a time for waking up and get their energy in the afternoon. Try to identify the time you work best and then get at it and use your energy to tackle your list. Also, break your list down into chunks: “Here is what I want to accomplish today” and “By the end of the week I will accomplish…”

Alongside the list, a few self-care rituals may assist you in handling the stress you may feel this time of year. Do you like to wake before your family to have a few moments to yourself? Do you like to find some time for exercise, maybe a quick walk after supper? Do you practice any deep breathing techniques? The self-care principals we practice can help us feel more centered and ready to tackle our lists of responsibilities.

Did you know at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, our Human Sciences specialists deliver an engaging well-being series called What About Me: My Well-being. This series focuses on more than simply nutrition and health. This series also highlights our social/emotional well-being; purpose; and financial well-being. We work alongside community organizations and work sites to deliver this free series.

Don’t let the time of year and all the tasks before you overwhelm you and steal your joy. Instead make your list, practice self-care, and remember, your friends at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach have many resources to offer!

Barb Dunn Swanson

Barb Dunn Swanson

With two earned degrees from Iowa State University, Barb is a Human Sciences Specialist utilizing her experience working alongside communities to develop strong youth and families! With humor and compassion, she enjoys teaching, listening and learning to learn!

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