With just over a week until Christmas, I’ve been feeling a bit frantic. I haven’t wrapped a single gift, my beautiful cards’ envelopes are still unlicked and unstamped, and I still want our family to go for a drive and see some lights.

This pressure is self-imposed, and I know none of these things are the real reason for Christmas, but they still are important to me. It could become easy for me to become so overwhelmed that I burn the candle at both ends and don’t pay attention to my own needs.

So I’m taking things a day at a time and am doing the following to make sure I take care of me and don’t burn out:

  1. Prioritize: What is most important to you during this last week of Christmas? Write down your must-list and use that as your benchmark for making decisions. It will be easier to say no to other activities if you look at them through your “must-list lens.”
  2. Include you in your calendar: Consider the next week, which might be busier than normal. It is important to block time on your calendar to take care you. Whether it’s a weekly exercise class or 30 minutes a day for reading and journaling, by planning for time for yourself and your passions, it is more likely to happen. I am getting a massage on Saturday and I CANNOT wait.
  3. Plan for times of waiting: On average, Americans wait 45-60 minutes a day. Use those periods of time in your day to do something that you love. If you plan for those times (such as having a book or some sewing with you), you will be able to do something you love instead of letting the time be wasted.
  4. Don’t overschedule yourself: Just because something will fit on the calendar, doesn’t mean you should say yes to it. Consider other commitments and if it really makes sense to do one more thing. The Christmas season is full of fun happenings — you don’t have to do them all this year.
  5. Take care of your body: Get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise. While these tips may be a challenge, you won’t be able to enjoy the season if you are sick and run-down. And if it has been a year since your last physical, go ahead and schedule it now!
  6. Give yourself grace: The season is busy and you might become over-extended on some days. Recognize when that happens and do you best to not let it become a regular occurrence.

Take care of yourself and enjoy this special time of year!

For more on the importance of making time for you and practicing self-care, read Jessica’s books: The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You and My Fringe Hours: Discovering a More Creative & Fulfilled Life.

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Give yourself grace. It’s a busy season and we all have those days when we feel over-extended. {Tweet this!}

  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Thank you for the important reminder that taking care of “me” is not selfish…perhaps it’s the best gift I can give my family and friends. No one wants a Grinch for Christmas! May you have a joyous Christmas and enjoy that massage!!

  • Penny

    Thank-you Jessica,

    This was very helpful of you.
    Merry Christmas!


  • Nicole Blean

    Wow! What a great post. I read your inspiring book, _The Fringe Hours_, and appreciate your reminder to use our waiting in line time during this holiday season to weave in those things we love doing. Yes, no matter the season, we need to take time outs here and there for ourselves and our passions.

  • Nancy Wolfe @

    I love love love Number 4. And, it’s not reserved for this season… I’ve said this to 4th and 5th graders many times. “Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD!. Thanks for including it in a really good list.xoxox

  • Rebecca Jones

    Women are just wired that way, on the go, doing for others, it’s the mother instinct. It’s a good idea to shop year round, keep gifts on hand, birthdays,etc. and then your prepared for Christmas, bags are easier than wrapping, gift certificates in stockings on the tree, for the hard to shop for. Don’t wear yourself out and miss the joy of it, Taking care of ourselves is not selfish, and it’s okay to say no.

  • Nancy Ruegg

    Love #6: “Give yourself grace.” Practically, that may mean ready-made bows, a little help from Pillsbury with the cookies, and fewer lights on the outside of the house (maybe none?). In exchange, we can spend more time with family, perhaps read some uplifting Christmas stories, or journal how God has been faithful through 2015. I’m thinking a meaningful Christmas is more valuable than a masterpiece Christmas. Thank you for the suggestions, Jessica, to make it so!

  • Beth Williams

    This is a busy time of year for many people! I believe in getting my gift shopping done before Thanksgiving or right after. Also use gift bags–makes life much easier!! Women, especially, tend to think they have to do everything and try to cram as much into this season as possible. It is ok to say NO and give yourself a night off. Do something for you & your family. A rested person is better than a Grinch!!
    Have a blessed Christmas!! P.S. Enjoy the massage!!!

  • Keri Snyder

    Such good reminders. I was starting to feel overwhelmed so I am glad I read this. Simplify has been my word this Christmas. We have cut back on a lot in order to keep it simple.

  • Sue Donaldson

    great great – can’t say it enough. (so it’s okay then that I do a little shopping for myself in the fray of my lists? (: ) My friend says, Sue, put yourself on the list. I blog about it but I don’t always do it. Have a great massage! sue PS yes, and number is convicting, but a good kind of convicting…

  • Katrina Sinift

    I love when you said that just because something will fit on your calendar doesn’t mean you should say yes to it. That needs to be my new motto!!!! Thanks for sharing!!