Thursday, December 8, 2011

De-stress the Holiday Madness

Today's December mental health post is brought to you by romantic suspense author Melissa Ohnoutka.


As I sit and write this, it is finally feeling like the Christmas season here in my little part of Texas. The highs for this week are forecasted to stay below 60! After the blistering hot summer months and drought we had this year, it’s a really nice change. Shoot, even the cold rain didn’t bother me all that much. We even ventured out on Sunday when the rain slowed to a chilling sprinkle to cut down our Christmas tree. And what a tree it is. It sure didn’t look that tall or wide out there in the open field with the others. I think we may be having an ornament shortage this year. LOL

Ah, Christmas time. The time for compassion and sharing. The time to get together with friends and family to make those precious memories and play catch up with what everyone’s been doing. The time to reflect over the past year and be thankful for all the blessings.

So what the heck happens to my plans for a peaceful joyous season?

I love this time of year. It’s my favorite holiday. All the hustle and bustle that comes along with it, not so much.

Every year I tell myself I’m going to get better prepared. Make lists, shop early, get those Christmas cards printed and sent out before the 15th. And every year, it never fails. I’m always shocked at how fast the season sneaks up on me. Organization plays a key role in everything we do. I don’t know why I can’t get this through my thick skull. LOL It sure would make my life a lot easier.

I think it has a lot to do with procrastination. In my head, I’ve got plenty of time to run out and buy those gifts—-tomorrow. Or decorate that Christmas tree, or address those envelopes. Laundry, house work, writing. You name it and I’ll procrastinate before doing it. Time is just not on my side that’s all.  What’s a frazzled mom to do?

Tips I’ve found to be helpful over the years to de-stress during this time and still get stuff done:

1. Call a family meeting before December hits. And then delegate, delegate, delegate. Especially with the chores and normal daily routine activities. (I like this one a lot!)

2. Make those lists the night before. Keep that list close while you sleep. I always remember something I forgot around 1:00 a.m. And when I wake up the next morning, I have no idea what it was. Drives me crazy!

3. To tackle those things that need to be done at home, get out your handy dandy kitchen timer. Pick one thing. (Yes, just one!) Set the timer for 30 minutes and don’t stop till it goes off. You’ll be amazed at how much you actually get done in those 30 minutes of uninterrupted focus.

4. For those Christmas gifts, plan out your shopping trip a few days ahead. Draw maps, add stickers, smiley faces, etc. to your list to indicate priority, get those coupons organized and be sure to schedule a much needed break for coffee, tea or my favorite, one Route 66 Sonic Dr. Pepper. (Oh, you might put in a potty break as well.)

5. Finally, don’t forget to breath. Have fun. It will all get done. The main thing I try to remember each year is to not let all the chaos steal the true meaning of Christmas. Enjoy each and every moment and know that the most priceless gift of all was given out of love and didn’t cost a single penny.

Wishing everyone a Very Merry Christmas and Joyous New Year filled with lots of love and laughter!

Melissa's latest release, Target of Betrayal, is available on Amazon as well as other fine online retailers this holiday season.


  1. Hope you can dig your way out of your holiday stress. Good luck and by gosh, have fun.

  2. Oh my goodness. Here it is December 8th and I haven't bought one thing.

  3. The Happy Whisk - Oh, I just love your name! :) Thanks so much. Digging as I write this and realizing I need a much bigger shovel! LOL Hope you have a Wonderful Holiday!

  4. Savannah Rose, sounds like you and I might be in the same boat. :) Wishing you a couple of very productive days ahead. And A Wonderful Holiday too!

  5. Ohh Missy- take the stress out of Christmas. Are you crazy. What would we do if we missed the frantic search for that last gift, or forgot to get the turkey for the christmas dinner. (just haven't purchased it yet) all the hair pulling as we try to remember all the things to do (isn't that why our hair gets longer- we just keep yanking on it). I did the "plan" for Christmas one year- everything done by the first week in December- and then I waited and waited for the 25th to arrive- That year just didn't seem as fun for some reason- so I have gone back to the insanity of last minute shopping, frantic cooking and looking forward to collapsing with a glass of wine for a job well done when the last gift is opened, the last plate is cleared, and all the children have gone home for at least a day.

  6. I just drink an extra can of Sugar Free Rock Star and I'm off to the races. LOL!
    Great list, Missy!

  7. I have to agree with Ruth, the last minute rush is part of the fun.

    Suzan, I was busy typing my comment to Missy when I glanced to the side and saw my book. Thanks so much for featuring it.

  8. Hey, Ruth! Crazy. LOL Yep, I've been called that quite often. :) You are right. A bit of insanity is good for the soul. Keeps you on your toes and makes life anything but boring. Hope you and your family have a Wonderful Christmas!

  9. I sure wish I could drink those things, Jenn. They give me one heck of a headache afterward. But man, I do get alot done! Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas! :)

  10. Susan, wishing you tons of fun! :) I know you've been celebrating for awhile now. Happy Holidays!

  11. "December Mental Health Post" LOL Love it, Suzan!! Merry Christmas!!

  12. You're welcome, Susan! And thanks again to our fabulous guest blogger, Melissa Ohnoutka!

  13. Good advice, Melissa. We started our shopping today and got pretty far!