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Balancing Act

Balancing Act Archives
August, 2006: Family Snack Smarts
July, 2006: Cooperative Co-parenting
June, 2006: Street Proofing Teens 101
May, 2006: Harmony is in season: Harmony is in season: Warm Weather Activities To Bring The Family Together
April, 2006: Caregiving: Sensible Steps To Success
March, 2006: Healthy Eating In A Fast Food World
February, 2006: Stress Busters to Stay Lighthearted
January, 2006: Brain Gain in Life's Later Years
December, 2005: Holiday Budget Planning
November, 2005: Combating Childhood Obesity
October, 2005: Eating Away at Colds and Flu
September, 2005: Avoiding the Aches of Osteoarthritis
August, 2005: Growing Older, Eating Wiser
July, 2005: Nutrition Tips for the Healthiest Summer Ever
June, 2005: Long-Term Care Facilities/Nursing Homes - How Do I Choose the Right One?
May, 2005: Nutrition and Your Baby: Introducing solid food to the menu
April, 2005: When Baby Comes Home For The First Time
March, 2005: Stepping into the Role of Stepparent
February, 2005: Pumping Fitness into Your Day
* January, 2005: Remedies for Financial Holiday Hangovers
* December, 2004: Time Out: Making the most of the holidays
* November, 2004: An Ounce of Prevention: Type 2 Diabetes
* October, 2004: Dealing with Peer Pressure
* September, 2004: Long Distance Caregiving
* August, 2004: The ‘Be-tween’ Transition, 2004
* July, 2004: Easing into summer vacation
* June, 2004: A family-friendly balance for working fathers
* May, 2004: Communication Tips to Help Young Minds Grow
* April, 2004: Tips for Making the Tax Season Less Taxing
* March, 2004: The Dieting Merry-Go-Round
* February, 2004: Keeping Your Financial Future in Check
* January, 2004: Here Comes the Flu
* December, 2003: Communicating with your Teen
* November, 2003: Eating for Energy
* October, 2003: Work-life Balance: Making it Work for You
* September, 2003: The Homework Zone
* August, 2003: Health Hints to Ease Your Family in to the Fall Season
* July, 2003: Stay Alert and Stay Safe - Streetproofing your kids
* June, 2003: Summer Activities for Stay-at-Home Kids
* May, 2003: Helping Older Relatives Stay Active
* April, 2003: Spring-cleaning: For the home, the family, and you
* March, 2003: Choosing a Summer Camp
* February, 2003: Baby couch potatoes: Tearing your kids away from the TV
* January, 2003: Resolution Solutions
* December, 2002: Holiday Stress Blasters
* November, 2002: Beating the Winter Blues
* October, 2002: Making the most of family mealtimes
* September, 2002: Generation Relations
* August 2002: Vacation Relaxation
* July 2002: Swimming Safety
* May 2002: Stuck in the Middle. The Sandwich Generation
* April, 2002: Supporting Your Child's Social Success
* March, 2002: After the Spring Break ... Take a Break For Yourself
* February, 2002: Keep those loving connections alive
* January, 2002: Ringing in a Balanced New Year
* December, 2001: Holiday Safety Tips
* November, 2001: It's Flu Season
* October, 2001: Halloween Safety Tips
* September, 2001: Back to school

The Balancing Act. Work/Life balance tips Printer Friendly Version
Time out: Making the most of the holidays

Parties, shopping, eating, drinking, entertaining, more parties, fighting for parking at the mall, more shopping, wrapping, cooking, more eating…

If this all sounds too frighteningly familiar, you’ve probably been hit by the seasonal bug known to most as the holiday time crunch. The condition usually deprives you of rest, time for yourself and even, ironically, time with those you care about most. Fortunately, with a little preparation and a little resolve this condition is completely preventable.

Plan practically. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll really be able to attend four parties on the same night. Sit down and take a close look at your schedule. Prioritize and map out a holiday calendar that’s realistic and gives you some flexibility and room to breathe.

Dole tasks out. It’s easy to get so caught up in your list that you forget there are many around ready to help. Change DIY duties into DIWO (do it with others) by asking family and friends to lend a hand. Make that extended family dinner you’re hosting a potluck, enlist children to help out with gift wrapping or leave your partner in charge of running those pesky errands while you finish up the seasonal shopping.

Get creative with multitasking. Shop for gifts online while your holiday treats are baking, sign greeting cards as you wait for the kids’ hockey practice to end or dust the furniture as you chat with your aunt Mildred on your cordless phone. Effective multitasking can help you get through that “to do” list a little faster and free up some precious time to spend with your family.

Make me time. It may seem to go against holiday instincts, but scheduling time out for yourself is one of the best gifts you can give to everyone. Remember: burning the candle at both ends will not only leave you exhausted, it’ll probably make you feel pretty “bah humbug” towards the season. By taking a few hours of down time you’ll be relaxed, recharged and ready to face the holiday season—and family and friends—with revitalized cheer.

Get help. If your budget allows, why not give yourself the gift of time and hire someone to help out. Whether it’s contracting a maid service to do the big holiday clean, paying the teenager down the street to shovel your drive, or ordering healthy pre-made meals from a personal chef service, enlisting outside assistance will add hours to your clock and reduce your stress levels.

Say “No.”…nicely. Many people have trouble setting social limits during this season. Can’t stand the thought of attending yet another open house? Send a “sorry I can’t make it” note and a small gift for the hosts well in advance of the event. Feeling consumed by weekly office holiday cocktail parties? Politely refuse the invite and offer to organize a get-together in the quieter months of January or February instead. Saying “no” isn’t easy, but if done with thoughtfulness and care it can spare you the time-crunching conundrum of saying “yes.”

Rekindle holiday spirit. Schedule at least one night a week to sit back, relax and enjoy the people you love. Whether it’s a family ice-skate outing, a casual movie night with friends, or a “board game night” with the neighbours and their kids, create opportunities for shared down time.

During all the hustle and bustle it’s easy to forget the true meaning of the season. But by taking a few moments to prioritize, you’ll avoid the holiday crunch and discover that time really can be on your side, even during the busy holiday season.

Need more information on time-management or how to better manage stress over the holiday season? Your Employee Assistance Program can help. You can receive support through a variety of resources, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call your EAP (Employee Assistance Program) at 1.800.387.4765 for service in English, 1.800.361.5676 for service in French.

This newsletter is meant for informational purposes only and may not necessarily represent the views of individual organizations.

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© 2005 WarrenShepell