This article was originally published on dLife.com—a website dedicated to helping people with diabetes live happier and healthier lives—as "Organizing Tips For Stress-Free Holidays," and is reposted with permission from the author.
The holidays can be hectic and overwhelming at times. However, if you manage your activities and plan your time properly, you can have an enjoyable and less stressful holiday season. (Plus, if you're diabetic, you can keep your blood sugar in control at the same time.) We have you covered with these tips on how to get and stay organized.
1. Make a master holiday to-do list.
Create a list of everything you need to do and want to get done for the holidays. Whether you write your task list in a notebook, on your smartphone, or a bulletin board in your office, make sure your list is in one place and easily accessible. Doing a brain dump will take the remembering out of remembering and you'll feel in control in an instant. Just remember to use whatever system works best for you.
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2. Use a calendar to create deadlines.
Once you have your main list of to-dos, break them into smaller tasks and place deadlines for each on your calendar. For example, if you like to send out holiday cards, your list might look something like this: Schedule date to take family photograph; create card on publishing site; update mailing list; stuff, stamp, and address envelopes; drop envelopes off at post office. Try to follow a step-by-step plan to reduce your stress and achieve your goals. Make sure to give yourself ample time to accomplish most of what's on your list.
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3. Plan ahead.
Shop for gifts in June. Wrap presents in September. Cook and freeze (and don't forget to label) in November. There are endless tasks that can be done ahead of time. Try not to save everything for the last minute. Plan ahead so you will enjoy the holiday to the fullest!
4. Clear the clutter.
The key to a peaceful, relaxed, and comfortable home during the holidays is a clutter-free environment. Whether it's purging the pantry or lightening up the linen closet, feeling organized will help you reduce your stress. Extra bonus? By decluttering your home before the holidays, you will make added room for any gifts you receive.
5. Organize your shopping trips.
No one wants to make endless trips to the stores during the holiday. Try to organize your to-dos by store and you will save time, money, and gas. Or, better yet, shop online!
6. Think clutter-free gift giving.
Does your babysitter really need another candle? Does your child's teacher need more stationery? We're thinking no. Movie passes, restaurant vouchers, cooking classes, even museum memberships are clever and clutter-free gifts that say "enjoy an experience." So, gift your friends and family with consumable gifts and bring the holiday spirit home. Bonus? You can store these cards or certificates ?in one convenient place before the holiday.
7. Ask for help.
We're going to say it again. Ask for help. Don't think you can do it all, because you can't. Trust us. We've been there. If your sister-in-law offers to bring the salad, say yes. If you need help in the kitchen while preparing the holiday dinner, recruit your guests to join you to peel potatoes or have someone set the table. They will feel so appreciative that you asked.
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8. Take care of yourself.
During the holidays, we are all consumed with checking things off our ever growing to-do list. Well, please remember to put "you" on that list! You still need to manage your diabetes even during this busy time of year. Take an exercise class or a walk with a friend. Take a quick retreat into a quiet space and take a few deep breaths. Do anything that will rejuvenate you and reset your mind and spirit.