How to Survive the Silly Season

Surviving the Silly Season

Terri LevineBy Terri Levine

For many, this isn’t the season to be jolly. It’s a time of stress and heavy demands, of trying to meet career deadlines and family obligations. Whether women have a corporate career or are burning the candle at both ends building a home-based business, many feel pressured to be perfect at this time of year: perfect at their job, perfect mothers, perfect wives, perfect housekeepers, perfect hostesses, perfect friends…

There is only so much perfection any busy woman can take before the cracks appear. It’s time we remembered that it isn’t about perfection and got our lives back, as well as our sanity. Here are some tips and rules to help you survive what I affectionately term the silly season:

  • Cape or no cape, you can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound while putting in a full day’s work plus try to care for your family and prepare gifts and fancy meals, etc. Realize this is asking a bit much, even of Wonder Woman. This year, decide that you are just not going to aim for “perfect”.
  • This may be cliché, but mark time off on your calendar for “me” time.  Have a partner, friend or family member mind the kids so you can get a massage, attend a yoga class, meditate, soak in the bath, go to the salon or a spa for some pampering, or even catch a movie with a friend. Just one hour of “me” time can be pure magic!  It will refresh you and recharge those tired batteries.
  • Manage your time effectively starting now. Don’t leave anything to the last minute.  Start your shopping. Wrap the gifts. Send your cards. Buy the special food and drinks that don’t have an immediate expiry date.  Make a check list.
  • Do a little bit of housework every day, so it doesn’t build up. Get your family to help.  Children can and should be doing chores. Work out a family roster. Insist on full family participation.  Tell them this year, if they want you to “do it all”, they have to pay you. If they don’t have any money, they can pay you in other ways – hand them a list of chores that need doing!
  • Stressed about finances?  Decide on a budget for gifts and let your family know and ask them not to be extravagant either.  If you are hosting the large family meal this year, ask everyone to bring a plate – why should you have to pay for and prepare everything yourself?  These days most people understand the need to watch finances.
  • If your family wants to go overboard with the festive decorations, let them put them up themselves AND put them away again afterward.  Otherwise, consider just a few tasteful and appropriate decorations that will be easy to clean up afterwards and don’t add to the clutter, which is the key to easy housekeeping – keeping it clutter-free.
  • If you tense at the thought of arguing relatives ruining your special family get-together, realize your stressing about it is not going to miraculously make it not happen. What you can’t change, simply accept.  Maybe have a word with them beforehand letting them know that you’d like them to be on their best behavior this year. If your favorite Uncle has a drink problem, slip him a few non-alcoholic drinks in between. You can buy non and low alcoholic wines and liquors.
  • Do NOT bring work home, and if your office is at home, keep the door shut and give yourself the gift of at least 48 hours office-free time.
  • Learn to say no.  You can’t please everybody and you shouldn’t have to. Don’t be put upon by those who would take advantage of your kind and generous nature. If you don’t have time, just say so.  Sorry, I’d like to help but I just don’t have the time.  Simple!
  • Housework – if your laundry isn’t finished or all the ironing isn’t done, the world is not going to stop spinning.  If the Silver really must be polished, that’s an easy chore for a child (or a husband) to do. Just do what really must be done and leave what can’t be delegated for when you have more time.
  • Delegate!  Whether it be food preparation or office related tasks, delegate so the workload is more fairly distributed. When people ask politely if you need any help, instead of saying, “Oh, no that’s alright, I’ll be fine,” I want you to say, “I’d really appreciate that…” and put them to work.  In fact, why wait for them to ask? Get in first and ask them… “Say, could you help me with this?”
  • Prioritize!  Some things really are just not that important. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the importance of our positions, so accustomed to being super efficient and on top of everything, that we just can’t let go and we stick our necks out even for trivial things that don’t need to be done straight away. Be realistic.


All the time you spend in the office, or with the mop and broom, is time taken away from your loved ones… time you will never get back again. And your family and friends should be visiting you for your company… not to judge your housekeeping skills, right?

You need to stop reading about how to be a superwoman and instead find a system that works for you and is uniquely you. What works for you? Don’t compare yourself to others – everyone is different.

Set boundaries with your employer, your husband, your children, and your family. If they expect you to be all things to all people at all times, then they are the ones with the problem, because their expectations are unrealistic, unreasonable and unfair. That’s way too many “uns”!

Today, having it all simply means achieving your goals as much as you can but on your own terms. The key is flexibility – on your part and on those who rely on you. Define success as it pertains to your needs and wishes. One person’s success may well be another person’s failure, but if it works perfectly for them, then who is to say what is wrong and what is right?

So, how do you plan to get through the holiday season?  Running yourself ragged trying to please everyone?  Or being realistic and remembering that you are also entitled to enjoy this time of year?

If this is truly the time of year for sharing, then share the cooking, share the housework, and share the shopping as well as the love…

Terri LevineTerri Levine, The Business Mentoring Expert, specializes in helping entrepreneur-owned businesses achieve record-breaking growth. Based in Philadelphia, Terri is founder and CEO of Comprehensive Coaching U, Inc., The Professional’s Coach Training Program. She has been featured on ABC, NBC, CNBC and MSNBC, and in more than 1,500 publications. She is the best-selling author of Sell Without Selling, Coaching is for Everyone and Stop Managing Start Coaching. Learn more at Contact Terri at

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