Dear Kathi,

I get overwhelmed every year around this time and always feel caught between work, family and social obligations. What is the best way to manage my crazy schedule and still maintain my sanity? I would love to be able to enjoy the holidays this year and still handle ALL of my commitments.

Lucille, Del Mar


An overloaded social schedule combined with the demands of entertaining, gift shopping, decorating, and other holiday traditions can evoke panic in even the most organized among us.
Banish preconceived ideas of what the holiday season should be like. Admittedly, this can be a difficult task, but it can also be very liberating. Think about your holiday traditions and try to separate those you truly enjoy from those you feel you “have” to do because you’ve always done so or you are expected by others to do so.
Always think before committing to any responsibility or social event. Ideally, make no snap decisions and give yourself time to reflect on any proposed commitment or responsibility (say you have to check your calendar first).

Decide what is the right level of social activity for you – from a party every day to none at all – and plan accordingly. If you are not a party person, don’t feel that you must attend every party that you are invited to. If you love hosting parties during the holidays, but feel overwhelmed, consider hosting potluck events where your friends and family help contribute with the preparations.

Be very clear about what your priorities are in advance of the holidays. Schedule time to combine obligatory activities with activities that make you happy. December is a time to truly celebrate, not stress. Take small moments every day to relax and nourish your soul.