Part 2: Prioritizing Demands During The Holidays

Part of what makes the holiday season so challenging is that you have all of your normal obligations, plus the added expectations that come with the holiday season.

It’s easy to feel like you’re just reacting to one fire after another without really having any clear sense of direction.

Today we’re going to share a few simple strategies for prioritizing during a busy season. These ideas are drawn from the website, Precision Nutrition, but they work well for mental health too!


Your Jar of Rocks:

Take a moment to take note of a few of the things that matter most to you in life? What’s absolutely critical for you to get done during the course of a day — think matters of life and death, or of absolute priorities? These are the big rocks. They fill the majority of your life jar and they’re the ones that take up your focus for staying alive and well.

What about things that aren’t absolutely critical, but you really value them. These are what we call small rocks. They’re the things it feels really good to accomplish, but that might get pushed to the side when we’re extremely busy. For some of us, this might be eating healthy food, exercising, or taking time on ourselves.

Finally, what are a few of the things that are fun for you to do? Things that you always want to do, but maybe don’t always have time? This also might include ways that you unwind at the end of the day. Watching Netflix, playing video games, etc. This is the sand, the stuff that fills in all the other cracks and space between the big rocks and the small rocks. It’s easy to brush this aside, but the sand also allows your small rocks and large rocks to rest securely inside the jar.

Before the holidays, think about what big rocks are really important to maintain through the season? Small rocks? Sand? Knowing what needs to happen vs what would be nice to have happen can help you determine where to spend your time through the holidays.

P.S. You can check out an image of the rock jar from our friends over at Precision Nutrition:

woman relaxing

Holidays are Stressful, So Relax!:

If you’re like me, maybe you looked at the list of rocks and sand and thought “one person can’t handle this in a day!”

You’re right! Busy or stressful seasons can mean that it’s hard to feel like we really have enough time to give to even the basic important things like eating healthy, exercising, and taking care of ourselves and our loved ones.

Most of us respond to this by pressing pause on healthy activities until the holidays are over. Have you heard this one before? “New diet starts on January 1st” or “I’ll deal with that in January”. Though there’s nothing wrong with pausing activities during a busy season, for some of us, it can make us feel like life is spinning out of control. Instead of planning to resume “healthy” activities after life settles down, why not experiment with imagining that you’re tuning a dial somewhere between 0 and 10. Figure out where you’re at right now, and then think about what small steps you might be able to do for the next week or two.

Check out more information about the pause button mentality + an example dial over here.

In the end, it’s important to remember our priorities, and to give ourselves compassion for areas where we get busy or need to turn down the dial for a little bit.

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