The holiday rush typically takes my multitasking skills to another level. Now that the Christmas shopping, wrapping and cooking is over, it’s time to get back to business. For parents it’s a magical season, but it can be draining too. Especially if you had to cook and do more of the work at home this year to put on a nice celebration.
With the beginning of 2021 upon us, it’s normal to start feeling some post-Christmas and holiday rush fatigue or the winter blues.
As a mom with a full-time news gig, I’ve learned that organizing a strategy ahead of each week is the key to making sure everything at home and work goes as smoothly as possible. I’m sure a lot of moms do this already, but I always throw in a list of possible fun ideas for my days off to look forward to as well.
You often feel like you’re expected to do it all. That’s not real life. I’m terrible at keeping up with laundry, I don’t get as much sleep as I know I need (or want) and I feel like I’ll never drop the baby weight that won’t seem to go away no matter how hard I try. I could go on and on, but instead I’m just taking small steps and approaching each week with an open mind.
Here are five ways I’ve managed to enjoy each week no matter what I’m doing:
1. Pack the essentials — In the news, I’m always working on a deadline. Whether I’m out reporting on a story in the field or anchoring a show, my prep routine is just as important as showing up. My car is my traveling office. I pack a bag with all of the things I need each day the night before to make sure I don’t forget anything. I pack up my winter gear so I’m not freezing outside in the bitter cold while I’ve live on TV (that includes wool socks and toe warmers), two water bottles, clothing, makeup and healthy snacks. I got a cool makeup case on Amazon that I’m loving right now. It keeps everything neat for me. Then my undereye concealer does the rest of the work to hide my tired mom life face. We often drink a lot of warm beverages during the winter months, so a local fitness expert told me to stay hydrated with cold water as much as possible. That can help your skin too. Make a list and pack up, so you have no worries when you wake up and go to work.
2. Managing separation anxiety for you — It’s so nice to be home during the holidays with your little one. I love spending the day with my daughter without any major expectations of what I have to accomplish during the day. The day is ours to cuddle, play, maybe nap and explore. I always worry that I’m away too much (for work or travel). Mom anxiety is a real thing. I swear it goes in bouts. Randomly, I’ll think about something and worry about my daughter while I’m away. Lately I’ve had my family send me texts and pictures showing me how she’s having a great time without me. The best way I reset my emotions about it is to think about how we’re encouraged at a young age to go after our dreams. I want my child to be successful in whatever path she takes, just like my family encouraged me. I know I’m setting a positive example for her to one day do the same. I remind myself that no one is perfect, but we can all strive to be our best. I will share it’s gotten easier as I’ve left the first-time infant mommy stage, but toddlers do bring on new changes each week it seems.
Also, a quick tip: downloading podcasts for your commute also helps you focus on something else instead of worrying 24/7.
3. Brainstorm fun ideas for your days off — I know this sounds easy, but with the pandemic, I’m having to get more and more creative. I think of a mix of activities and new experiences. This is so much fun for my daughter and myself. Art therapy is seriously a thing. I usually do something for fine motor skills development and then ways to keep her moving. Dancing and water color painting. You can buy fun props and do a dance with bells, shakers or musical instruments and use them along with a song. I did this for “Jingle Bell Rock” and a few headbands and bells from the dollar store — inexpensive and so cute. She’s starting to go along with the beat of the music. I also love visiting the zoo. You can stay socially distanced at the Akron Zoo and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Getting fresh air, as long as it’s not freezing, is so nice. Plus, it makes for some special memories.
4. Take time for yourself — I hate when people say this and they don’t explain realistically how that can happen. What extra time? It’s difficult to find time to workout or watch a show you want to see instead of cartoons. Usually, I just fall asleep the minute I turn my own show on at night. Look at your schedule and see if you can carve out time in the mornings or evenings during the week, then stick to a plan for exercise. I usually workout early in the morning before everyone else wakes up, but I also try to keep moving with my toddler so I can get those extra steps in. Also, do one thing that you enjoy on your days off. Maybe try a new show to binge watch, a new virtual relaxation yoga class on YouTube or a new recipe in the kitchen. This can be the year of a new you.
5. Reconnect — Get back in touch with friends you haven’t seen in a while. COVID-19 is certainly putting a damper on the fun we used to have, but why not try FaceTime or a Zoom call? Or get in touch with someone you haven’t checked on in a while. Chances are they feel the same way about things or you’ll have fun stories to share from Christmas break.
So instead of feeling the post-holiday slump, make a resolution to just approach real life another way. Make it easier on yourself. Download a new podcast, make a quick list of what you want to achieve and go after it each week.
It might even help keep our minds off of the pandemic while we’re at it.
P.S. share your ideas in the comments below. Sharing is caring.