Breast cancer survivor and clutter clearing author learns to walk her talk

Clutter clearing cancer coping author and motivational speaker We can learn to live our priorities fully (and not just surviving or getting by on a day to day basis) by clearing out the distractions and focusing on what is important to each of us, our families, and our lives. Cancer Survivorship Coping Tools: We'll get you through this by Barbara Tako, two-time cancer survivor and published author and motivational speaker on the topic of clutter clearing. For updates on this new book, click here.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Reclaim & Simplify Your Holiday Season

October sort of kicks off the holiday season. It can be a fun time, a busy time, even a stressful time. Author News: I turned in my author final draft of Cancer Survivorship Coping Tools: We’ll get you through this to my publisher! Now I am working on related materials to support the new book which I hope will be a helpful resource for people diagnosed with cancer.

Reclaim & Simplify Your Holiday Season

How is your fall? The start of the holiday season sort of begins in the fall with Halloween—followed rapidly by Thanksgiving, and Christmas/All traditions, and then New Years. Do you like the “busyness” or do you feel stressed for several months? If “busyness” is what it has turned into for you, try these thoughts to reclaim your holidays.

My holidays aren’t perfect. I wouldn’t know how to tell anybody else how to have the perfect Halloween, Thanksgiving or any other holiday. We all have different goals, desires, and abilities. We all are at different life stages and have different family situations. Sometimes a family consists not of people that are related but people who have adopted each other in life. To improve and simplify your holidays, I have a few general suggestions.

First, take holiday notes from year to year. Write down what you spent (yes, this is a sneaky way to say “budget”). Write down what you liked about what you did for the holiday, and write down what you would and wouldn’t do again (yes, this a sneaky way to say “goal setting” and to prevent repeating past things that didn’t work well). Keep a holiday folder with holiday notes from year to year.

For Halloween, I keep a count of the number of children who come by each year so that I don’t buy too much or too little candy. My waistline doesn’t need the leftovers! Let’s just call it what it is “body clutter.” I also use the same decorations from year to year because it is traditional and frugal for our family to do it this way.

Second, do what you want to do for each holiday based on what your talents are and aren’t. I am not a seamstress and I am frugal. Halloween costumes have been hand-me-downs, items purchased at garage sales, and household stuff that my children have applied their own creativity to use.

Next, develop traditions for the seasons and holidays that fit for you and your family. Each holiday is your holiday and your family’s. Talk to other family members. Ask what they like and don’t like about each holiday as it rolls around. Find out what aspects they look forward to enjoying and what aspects of each holiday that they dread. These will give you some good clues about how to simplify each holiday.

Finally, whatever you do for any upcoming holiday, do it because you want to do it. If you are doing things because you feel you “should” or because you “ought to” or because you need to keep up with the neighbors, these activities are not genuine and there will be little satisfaction from them for you or for your family.

Sometimes in our desire to get it perfect and do the right thing, we forget to have fun and we forget the reason for the holiday. It isn’t about the stuff. “Perfect” decorations and “perfect” food aren’t what make holidays special. We forget the meaning of the holidays.

Simplify all your holidays by taking and keeping notes for each one. Cut out what doesn’t work for you and your family. Create your holidays using the skills and abilities you and your family have, rather than beating yourself up for things you can’t or prefer not to do. By doing this, you can create simple holidays that fit joyfully for you and your family.

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