How to survive the ‘crazy’ season

Why do people call it the ‘silly season’ or the ‘crazy season’ when in fact this is an amazing time of year? Actually, I call it the ‘crazy season’ because the end of year always brings with it a sense of urgency for me. Even though I get caught up in it, I’m not sure why it has to be this way. Why do we feel compelled to catch up before Christmas or New Year? Why is there an urgency to finish off projects? I can understand that we sometimes need to finish things off at work before going on holidays, but I’ve done this even when I wasn’t going on holiday. There seems to be a collective frenzy – and I’m not even talking about the Christmas shopping!

 

Well, the reason we do this doesn’t seem quite as important as how to handle this time of the year and the extra stress it puts on us. In fact, I have found that by using some strategies of self-care at this time, I’m less susceptible to the ‘craziness’ that is going on around me. When we are stressed, there are two things we can do – change our actions and change our attitude. It’s not easy, but it is possible.

 

How to change your actions

Work smart not hard – Plan and Prioritise

There are a lot of distractions towards the end of the year and also a lot of deadlines. Generally there is more activity compared to our general routine during the year.

  • Plan your time carefully – remember you have to fit in all the extra fun stuff as well.
  • Focus on the ‘must do’ – not everything needs to be done this year. It may feel good to get closure on some things, but if they are not critical, you’ll get the closure when you finish them in January.
  • Stick with the plan!

Don’t over-commit – Say NO

It’s easy to get caught up in other people’s urgency. Knowing to your priorities makes it easier to say ‘no’.

How to change your attitude

Once you have cut your ‘to-do’ list down to a ‘have-to-do’ list, the only way you will reduce the stressful ‘craziness’ is by changing your attitude towards the tasks.

 

Be present – focus on each task individually

We spend so much energy thinking about the next thing instead of focusing completely on the task at hand. Save yourself that energy and immerse yourself in what you are doing in the present moment – you may even complete the task quicker and better than if you are worrying about stuff in the future.

 

Take some time for meditation – it resets your mind and body

There is an old Zen Proverb: You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy, then you should sit for an hour. I can hear you saying “I’m too busy for 20 minutes, how could I sit for 1 hour – and do nothing!”

Doing nothing is exactly what you need in your day to give your mind a rest. You wouldn’t dream of sprinting the whole day, so why do you allow your mind to race the whole day without a break. It needs a rest too!

The best way to fit in meditation is to plan it into your day and break it up if needed, for example, 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at lunchtime. Research has shown that over time meditation has considerable beneficial effects on you physical and mental wellbeing. There are many meditation techniques and you should use the one that suits you best. If you have never meditated before, you can start by just focusing on your breath. I also have to add that your mind will wander, so please don’t beat yourself up if you start planning your dinner menu – its normal, that’s what minds do. When you notice that the mind has wandered, then just bring your focus back to the breath.

Practice mindfulness – it helps you stay focused

Sitting meditation is not the only way to still the mind. You can also practice mindfulness as you go about your daily routine. Mindfulness is purposefully bringing your awareness to the present moment without judgement. Here are 5 ways to make time in your day through mindfulness:

  1. In the shower or brushing your teeth
  2. Having a cup of tea/coffee or eating
  3. At the traffic lights
  4. Waiting in a queue
  5. While walking or exercising

And now for the biggie – LET IT GO

And if you can’t let it go – then let it be. An attitude of acceptance goes a long way to decreasing the stress around the end of the year. A lot of people are busy and their default may be a constant state of snappy. Don’t take things personally and don’t let someone else’s bad mood affect your day. Put things into perspective and choose your battles.

 

Wishing you a happy season instead of a ‘crazy’ season

The end of the year brings with it deadlines, rush and chaos, but it is also a time of celebration, friendship, love and sharing. By changing your actions and your attitude in this ‘crazy’ season you will be able to enjoy quality time with family and friends.

 

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