So it’s that time of year again. The holidays are upon us and it is crunch time. I don’t know about you, but I am feeling overwhelmed and squeezed; between my practice, my family and caring for my aging mom. Oh, and we can’t forget our furry friends, our dogs and cats, trying to fit in an exercise class, holiday shopping, and baking!

When you think about it, it is a lot; especially if you don’t have a plan of what is important to you for that day, week, or month.

One tool that I use is Steven Covey’s “Big Rocks Theory”...
What are Big Rocks? If you put the big rocks in the jar first, they represent what is important to you, but not urgent. They include things that align with your values, family time and work priorities. All the other extraneous things like shopping, holiday parties, baking, and writing out cards, etc will fit in the cracks if you make the big rocks a priority.

Here are some suggestions that may help ease your stress:

1. Make sure that you have a calendar that has time slots. Allocate the time needed for the big things that have to be accomplished for the day. You will be surprised how much extra time you have in your day to finish the little things.

2. Realize that you have a choice to take on any task or project. You can say no. You can say no and don’t apologize. If what you are doing doesn’t align with your big rocks for that day, say no... It’s ok.

3. When prioritizing your day, ask yourself, “Is what I am planning to do worth the time it will take?” Are you doing this to please you or is it for acceptance and validation of others?

4. When you are really stuck as to whether you should take on a project, consider using the 10-10- 10 principle. Ask yourself: “What will be the impact of my doing this task in the next 10 minutes, 10 months, or 10 years?” 10-10-10 by Suzy Welch is a great book to read that helps you make decisions with clarity.

5. Set boundaries for yourself and stick to them. Ask yourself what you are willing to do today that aligns with your physical and emotional needs. If taking a trip up to see relatives is emotionally draining for you, choose a time when you can visit that is less stressful and you can handle the situation.

6. Pamper yourself. If exercise or quiet time is important to you, then make and appointment with yourself to do it. Yes, literally write it in your schedule. Pamper yourself. I said it twice because it is that important. Take a bubble bath, get a massage, or meditate. You will be a better coworker, wife, or mom for it.

The holidays are meant to be enjoyed. It is a special time of year that we can count our blessings and give thanks for what we have. I hope by following some of these simple suggestions you can be less overwhelmed, feel energized, and be fully present for this special time of the year.

Author's Bio: 

Sherry Shoemaker, CPCC, ACC is a life coach; entrepreneur, speaker, writer and educator with a passion for helping women live their life confidently. Her mission is: To help women understand that no matter what the circumstances, you always have a choice; a choice to walk through the fear and get to the other side and follow your passions according to your core values, and live your best possible life.
Her company is Voice of Assurance Life Coaching. Services include individual coaching, group coaching and workshops, and personality assessment. Contact Sherry at or Voice of for more information.