Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

Perspectives: Holiday Hangover? Tips to Unwind and Move On.

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Transitions no matter what kind are difficult.  This post and podcast are for you if you find it difficult to let go of 2012. What do I mean by that?

  • Your decorations from December aren’t quite put away. You just can’t seem to get that done.
  • You traveled over the holidays and the suitcases are still packed. And you’re not looking forward to dealing with that either.

Carol Williams and I have taped our podcast but we’ve also written up our main tips, which you can find below, if that’s your preference.

Holiday Hangover – Try Our Tips (click here)

Written Tips:

  •  Know what needs to get done – Separate the emotion of feeling overwhelmed from the facts of what needs to get done.
    • Back to our checklist!
    • Easier to invite support.
    • Easier to break up a “big project” into smaller tasks that fit into your busy calendar.
    • More to cross off – how great does that feel!
  • Deal with the emotion separately from the “to do’s” –
    • Packing is a necessity but how else might you emotionally close out December? Perhaps look at photos and reminisce first, which takes care of the emotion, and which begins your transition back to reality. Then unpack and do the laundry. It’ll be easier to get started.
    • Or call a friend and talk while you both unpack, do laundry or un-decorate.
    • Make it fun to un-decorate – Family, friends, a party, a race with a timer or music!
    • Assign chores and task to each other and pull everyone in!
    • Or make it a quiet time, just for you, to reflect on your year or your holiday and your vacations. What would you like to repeat next year? And definitely not repeat? What was frustrating and what could be done differently next year?What did you miss out on? And what will  2013 be about for you, your family, your business and other activities? What’s important now?
  • Purge as you put things away –
    • Any decorations you didn’t use? Why not? How long have they sat, lonely in their boxes, waiting for you to use them?
    • Who else could use them?
    • Can you take a photo of them and then pass them along, so you have the memory, but not the object?
    • Does each item actually bring  you joy? Or is it “should” energy?

If you’d like to listen …

For some calming words and practical advice you can use right away, we invite you to listen to our short podcast with a bit more detail … 6 minutes is what it takes.

Just click on this link>> Holiday Hangover – Try Our Tips (click here)



Thanks for being here with us.

Welcome to 2013 !

Carol and Sue  (Carol) (Sue)

Stay tuned by signing up at either of our blogs or use our email: [email protected]


Links to Prior Podcasts

The Holiday Season:

Ticket to Sanity – Christmas Countdown – The Week before!

CHUG thru your holidays

Breaking down the end of your year … 6 tips for the holidays.

Breaking Down Our Year – Small Business Owner Advice 

Breaking down the end of the year: Lists – Made more fun as a way to clear the fog!


Back to School Season:

Back to school transitions -tips for parents on scheduling life

Advice for Kids – Habits for School Routines

True student and family success


It’s Your Holiday, Too, Remember.

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

This post is about taking care of you during the holidays. It’s a simple list of ways to make things easier on yourself, not a ‘to do’ list.

WHO typically irks you…

…gets your goat, pushes your buttons, or otherwise puts too much “Grinch” in your holiday season? This is your holiday, too, and you don’t need more stress.

  • Bring someone else into your confidence and ask him/her to stay with you, or help keep that person away.
  • Stay way from the person. Just walk away.
  • Decide ahead of time how you’ll answer the comments or those fun,  prying questions he/she may ask.
  • What is it that bugs you? Can you talk through some strategies before you’re stuck in a conversation.
  • If you were advising a friend, your adult child or your favorite person on how to deal with this person, would you have different ideas? This is a way to get perspective that’s less emotional.
  • If it’s an ongoing issue, consider solving it in January.
  • Start work with a therapist for a short term goal of dealing with “people like this.”

It’s Your Holiday, Too, Remember.

WHAT situations are difficult? Not people, but situations, times, events, places.

    • As  you get ready to go out, or you’re traveling to wherever you’re going, think about what you DO appreciate about this. Stay focused on that, in your mind, or write it down. Peek at what you’ve written down, whenever you leave to go take a biology break.
    • Is the difficulty  in how you respond? Then practice slowing down. Walk slowly.  Speak slower. And take a breath before you speak. Find a signal you can give yourself (or someone else can) to stop. Pause. Think. Then respond. Respond; don’t react with emotion.
    • Can you do some of the event, but not all of it. Meet people after the big party, at the end for dessert or out for drinks. Change the situation to be something you can handle more easily.

It’s Your Holiday, Too, Remember.

HOW could it be the best holiday ever?

  • What’s one thing that would really make this holiday or holiday vacation rock and roll for you? One small change that would make a difference. If it’s feeling too big, what piece of this could you try? Experiment with? Dip your toe in the water for? One small piece, so you know you’ve made a difference this year.  There’ still time – and plenty of time before next year. But start down the road now.

It’s Your Holiday, Too, Remember.

WHEN are you on your game?

When do you usually feel “on your game” versus “off?” Important to know, whether it’s the holidays or not.

Consider these aspects, and whether you need to shore up in any area, just by a little bit. OR choose ONE area and focus on it:

  • Sleep: amounts, and cycle (staying up too late?)
  • Food/nutrition: morning meal for energy and a kickstart, eating enough but not too much (don’t give up just because it’s the holidays), alcohol levels.
  • Health: Whether it’s medications or natural methods, stick with these as much as possible. Don’t give up if you miss one day. The point is to recover and keep going, not to be perfect.
  • Peace: Walking (grab a family member or go alone if you need ‘me’ time away from it all), meditation/quiet time (5 minutes can make all the difference), reading (10 minutes!).
  • People: alone versus social time – watch the  mixture at the holidays. Find small ways to get away and refresh, take a break, get away, if that’s what you need.


Seemingly Impossible to Change?

I just discovered and their Facebook site and found two inspiring posters just this week.

I’m sharing them with you below for inspiration. One of my Facebook followers plans to print the “impossible” picture and post it on her bathroom mirror!





   Because … It’s Your Holiday, Too, Remember.

Clutterless Gift Ideas

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Run out of gift ideas? Don’t want to give something without meaning? Or buy something because if you don’t you’ll shop ’til you drop?

Below, you’ll learn what I’m giving my family which may spark your creativity, and then, after that, questions to get you thinking about ideas for your own list.

Bake a meal: For my parents, who are of retirement age, we are visiting and bringing with us a brunch meal. I can’t tell you what we’re making, because they read my blog!

Donations: For my sibling’s families, a donation has been made to hospice. We have all been touched by family members or extended family needing extra care.

(Hospice is for a variety of needs, not only for people living with cancer, in case you didn’t know.)

Books: Physical or e-books – I put these on the list because (a) if you give a book like mine, yes, it is a “Thing,” but you’re helping to improve things in the long run. (b) It’s something which can be shared after reading it. And you can encourage the sharing when you give certain types of gifts, too.

Time: Organizations like Home Helpers or It’s about Time exist in your state. They work with elders, but also busy families.

Experiences: Check out Living Social for discounts on a variety of experiences. Think about experiences year-round not just ones they can use now. From spa days to museums to lunch with you – all experiences you can send the person on, or share with the one you’re giving the gift to.

Make something useful: My grandmother lives in assisted living and needs a new afghan. This is what we are making, and we’ll be sewing on name tags to her blanket. 


Advice & questions to figure out YOUR plans

What do they REALLY want. My parents really want to see their family at Christmas and simply spend time together. With four of us together for dinner, it makes most sense to have something simple, plus it takes work off mom’s shoulders! And, the grandparents get to give my dog treats; what could be better than that! Or maybe they don’t get to eat out often and that might be a special treat at their favorite place.

What’s happened in their life this year? Can you tie a donation to that? Can you find another experience if they loved this one?

What do they complain they never have time for? Buy them a gift of time – from books to personal assistants to professional organizers. A second pair of expert hands, who has “done it before” will solve this nagging problem, once and for all. Choose an organizing coach like me if it’s a continuing issue which seems never to go away – sustainable change.

What do they stand for? From values to hobbies and interests to causes they believe in: What’s there that could make a memorable gift?

What do they mean to you? Give a photo book, scrapbook or a letter or a poem – complete with quotes that mean something to you and to them about experiences you’ve had together, or what you really appreciate about this particular person.


Ideally, all year long, we’re slowing down enough to tell people that we love them or to tell people what we appreciate them. Then, at this time of year, there’s not quite as much pressure to find that perfect gift. Because you’ve been good all year long!




Gift Certificates for Organizing/Coaching Services: Doing it “Right”

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

You’re sure that if he/she worked with an organizing coach, life would be better, calmer, more productive at work and at home. I know it will … but would he or she agree? This is the time of year you might be thinking, “I want to get a gift that MEANS something, that won’t just be more ‘stuff’ to add to a cluttered life.”

It’s a helpful thought … and here’s how to do it so you help your relationship and don’t hurt it.

When someone calls and asks about a gift certificate, I offer the following advice, so that the  conversation and the gift are welcomed, and don’t cause a blowup in your relationship.

Who is complaining? About what?

Has she complained that she just can’t get a handle on it all? Life, the home business, the household. Think carefully, because she needs to be the one complaining. That’s where her motivation to change will come from, not because she “should” or because someone else tells her. Research tells us that when a decluttering is forced, the clutter returns, and even  more of it. We can do a big reorganization, but if she doesn’t see a real need in the first place, how quickly do you think the stuff or time clutter will return? In a blink of an eye.

Starting the conversation

What did he say when he complained about too much to do or his ADHD getting the way? That’s the phrase you want to key off of to start a conversation. Because you do need to have a conversation before you give this gift. “I was thinking about when  you said … and I’ve read this woman’s blog/website. What I liked about her approach/credentials was … and so I thought this might be useful to you. What do you think of the idea?”


Stuff and time clutter are conceptually like money. One of you probably is a bit more of a saver and the other more of a spender. Just as our attitudes and upbringing about money and finances are often different, so are our attitudes about stuff and time.

If either time or ‘too much stuff’ have become an issue in your marriage, an outsider, provided you both agree to this, is a useful approach. When I work with the one spouse, I work with that person’s strengths but I also understand that this organizing is different for each of us, so I can appreciate and explain what’s likely happening for the other spouse.

When ADHD, bipolar, depression/anxiety are in the mix

Many of my clients have ADHD. It shows up differently for each person and affects his/her life differently. The skills and practical strategies we work on will be different for each person.

Also, if needed, I’ll recommend education for both the spouses or the employee and the supervisor. Because it’s not an issue of “simply doing it.” Or “mind over matter.” These are neurologically based issues and you need to understand something about your condition to figure out how to outsmart it. Or to understand how to work together, so neither of you is a nag about it but together, you can deal with its impacts. Yes, it’s the third wheel and it will be, until you understand, accept and even embrace how ADHD shows up in your life.

Next chapters: divorce, death, big life changes

This would seem like an ideal situation to go through your things and your time, figuring out how to honor the past but move on. And that’s true. It’s cathartic, balancing, and filled with memories.

Here, you’ll want to ask the question even more sensitively about whether the person is ready to “begin to think about moving on, at least a first step.” My experience is that he/she may be ready to part with things, but  may not be ready for the whole process. And people get ready to move on at different rates. So it’s about taking one, small step and starting the process. That’s been the best approach and the least threatening to the memories of the past.

Other options to get started

Last, if it now seems that a gift certificate is not the idea that will work, you might consider giving my book instead. It’s filled with practical strategies, room by room and includes time management advice, plus reflection questions. Its focus is on moving onto your next chapter, so if big lie changes are part of the equation, this might be a good start. Read the table of contents and a chapter at this link.

You can call first

For gift certificates or to discuss your situation before you decide, simply email me or call 603.554.1948. Happy to chat for a bit to help you figure out how to help yourself or the person you’re thinking about. I offer phone coaching/consulting, virtual organizing, and in home/in office meetings – or a combination, depending on what works best.


Happy holidays season –







Perspectives Podcast: “In the Thick of It:” 6 Tips to Chug through Your Holidays

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Carol Williams and I are in our last month of our theme:  BREAKING DOWN THE END OF YOUR YEAR SO YOU DON’T HAVE A  BREAKDOWN.  Last time, we broke down the steps leading up to Thanksgiving. This month, we have Hanukkah, Christmas, Solstice, and Kwanza.

Since we are now “in the thick of it” we considered it timely to provide you six tips that will help you “chug through your holidays.”

For some calming words and practical advice you can use right away, we invite you to listen to our short podcast:


CHUG thru your holidays  

Spend just 6 minutes with us.

Listen to the tips and see which one you think would really help you through. And by all means, let us know!






Thanks for listening.

Carol and Sue  (Carol) (Sue)

Stay tuned by signing up at either of our blogs or use our email: [email protected]


Links to Prior Podcasts:

Breaking down the end of your year … 6 tips for the holidays.

Breaking Down Our Year – Small Business Owner Advice 

Breaking down the end of the year: Lists – Made more fun as a way to clear the fog!

Back to school transitions -tips for parents on scheduling life

Advice for Kids – Habits for School Routines

True student and family success