It is interesting that the holidays often bring out the best and worst in people, families and friends.

For the most part, relatives who haven’t seen each other since last year, once again get together and try to make sense of it all.

Some pretend to be excited, full of joy, while hiding the sadness they are really feeling. Loss often accompanies the holidays, with the reminder that Aunt Janice isn’t here to celebrate Christmas because she died last March.

Christmas also has its tragedies when individuals have trouble facing what has occurred in the past and what is happening in the present.

Time commitments are stretched thin when families try to get together under the guise of “a happy and joyous occasion.”

Additional pressures come in the form of expectations for the holidays.

Managing time properly can help decrease the stress one feels during this time of year.

Here are some hints and strategies for dealing with time during the holidays.

Managing Time

Time is defined by how we use it.

If you feel like you are constantly rushing, don’t have enough time, are constantly missing deadlines, have many nonproductive hours, lack sufficient time for rest or personal relationships, feel fatigued or overwhelmed by the demands of the holidays, it is likely you have difficulty managing your time, which is often crucial during the holiday season.

It also may be time to slow down. Here are four steps to effective time management:

Establish priorities. This will allow you to base your decisions on what is important and what is not, instead of wasting your time. This is a key step to help you through the holidays with kids out of school and taking care of work commitments.

Create time by realistic scheduling. People tend to misjudge how much time activities really take to accomplish. I find it helpful to write down the tasks in a day planner.

Delegate tasks to others. If you tend to control everything, as many do, with the belief that only you can do it and no one else can, reconsider. Enlist family members to assist you. Many children delight in accepting a chance to help when they are given some responsibility. Besides, it helps you to share with others while also accomplishing what needs to be done.

Dr. David R. Blackburn is a psychologist at Baylor Scott & White.

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