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Take a Holiday from Perfection

You can’t expect to be Wonder Woman during the holidays. This year give yourself a gift by giving yourself a break.

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holiday stress

A few days ago I was trying to get my children to school and myself to work, while thinking about 50 other things that I had to accomplish that day, and managed to smash the back door of my car onto my head. While I partly blame my (lack of) height for the mishap, it was really my overzealous multitasking and the resulting distraction that probably caused me to be off my game that morning. 

MORE: Five Ways to Slow Down and Find Fulfillment

Multitasking is often necessary for busy women and, fortunately, we tend to be pretty good at it. But, the list of tasks cannot be greater than your available time and energy. The list can be especially huge during the holiday season. Do you expect yourself to accomplish everything that you usually do during the year, plus be the ideal hostess, gift-giver, party guest and social coordinator? The logistics of real life, especially when combined with the fantasy images abundant in the media, can lead you to set unreasonably high standards for yourself. Are you trying to recreate an idealized scene of the perfect group of family and friends, eating the perfect food and opening the perfect presents, in a perfectly decorated house? If only you had super-powers…

Try scaling back demands on yourself by prioritizing and focusing of what’s really important to you. Would you rather spend an extra couple of hours preparing your signature cocktails and homemade appetizers for your party? Or would you rather serve wine, cheese and crackers and spend some time walking or shopping with your friends? With limited time, you may not be able to do both. But either choice is fine, as long as it feels right to you, and you don’t beat yourself up for not somehow miraculously creating extra hours in your days and managing to do everything.

MORE: Find Your Super Power

If your demands on yourself are too high, you’re likely to end up frustrated and disappointed, which will make it very difficult to enjoy your friends and family during the season. Too high expectations also can knock down your self-esteem and self-confidence, while hugely increasing your stress level. It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to be Wonder Woman—lassoing bad guys and bouncing bullets off your bracelets, all while looking great in hotpants and a bustier. 

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