THE BLOG
12/07/2014 12:56 pm ET Updated Feb 06, 2015

What to Do If You've Got Too Much to Do This Holiday

There are so many fun and exciting things you could do during the month of December -- parties, events, lunches, creative projects, shopping, card sending, and the list goes on. But as these to-dos start to accumulate, even if they are things you want to do, all of the sudden all the space you desired for peace, harmony, and chilling this December turns into holiday stress that sucks up your time and pushes your peace right out the window.

Fast forward to January, and because you tried to do too much this holiday, you start the new year at a deficit of energy, time and money and you play catch up all year long. Most of us are totally oblivious to the fact that how we live our holidays is a huge set up for a year ahead with more pressure.

And while some of this holiday pressure is unavoidable, much of the stress can be avoided if you become aware of how your FOMO -- fear of missing out -- and FOHO -- fear of hurting others -- is driving you to make choices that drain you instead of sustain you.

For example, you may want to say yes to many of the holiday party or lunch invitations, but deep down you know there are one or two that you could let go of and create more space and less stress. But you are afraid of hurting the host's feelings or missing out on the fun (you don't want to see the Facebook posts the next day and feel left out).

You may want to send cards to everyone you know, but deep down you know that it will take hours, and you would honestly rather spend that energy on the project you've been wanting to do just for yourself. But you are afraid that if you don't send everyone a card, they will feel bad or will think you don't care.

You may want to see your relatives (or not) but inside you know the stress of traveling to multiple places is really more than your heart desires. But again FOMO and FOHO get the better of you.

Usually you are just moving too fast to feel this inner truth, so it's only after the fact, after you have done too much, that you suffer and realize that you didn't really stay true to yourself, and are now in energy deficit.

There is a different choice. A holiday sanity practice that creates MORE SPACIOUSNESS and MORE SWEETNESS in your life and has the power to alleviate at least some unneeded holiday stress. I started using this years ago, it's called SAYING NO WITH LOVE and it works like this:

Holiday Sanity Practice -- SAY NO WITH LOVE to the extra things you may want to do but that will cost you more than the return.


1. Find at least ONE THING to SAY NO to -- even if you want to do it, even if you love these people, you know deep down, doing this will cost more than the return and will create stress on the back end instead of spaciousnesss.

2. Release that ONE THING with LOVE, by promising to STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF even if that means disappointing another -- It's an act of self-love to choose yourself first, and that's not selfish, it's smart. As you consider releasing this one thing, say this self-love promise out loud -- "I promise to stay true to myself even if that means disappointing another" -- as your permission slip to say No, with love.

3. Take ACTION with LOVE -- without guilt or criticism, cancel that to do and take whatever action you need to release it and open up space, and do it with love (e.g., call and decline the invitation letting the person know you appreciate the invitation and them even though you won't be able to make it, only send cards to 10 people and send an email to the rest, call your relatives and give them love via phone or Skype instead of feeling like you have to see them in person).

I'd never ask you to do something I wouldn't do! Here's my holiday sanity Say NO with Love this week:

"I say NO to going to the lunch on Monday with three women I love that would take me 2 hours of driving time to and from. I release the desire to go to this event, and will call my friend tell her I can't come, that it makes me sad we won't see each other, and not take it personally.

I promise to stay true to myself even if that means disappointing another!"

Okay, now your turn.

Choose sanity instead of stress for yourself and your heart this holiday. And trust, everyone will be happier in the end.