The Revitalize Blog


Beat the Holiday Rush: Smart Strategies for Busy Professionals to Minimize Stress

personal development podcast time management work-life harmony Nov 28, 2023
Woman holding clock in garden

If you've ever found yourself drowning in holiday stress, wishing there was a better way to manage your time and energy, Dr. Christina Shenvi is a great resource to turn to. We recently had her as a guest on The Revitalizing Doctor podcast - you can listen to the episode here.

An experienced physician, Dr. Shenvi understands the overwhelming feeling of juggling a busy professional life and meaningful personal commitments. She's experienced the anxiety of trying to do it all and has crafted an approach to create a holiday season that's less about stress and more about joy. We will delve into her process, illuminating how she exchanged hustle for harmony during her holiday season.

While filled with joy and celebrations, the holiday season can be stress-inducing. This stress can impact your personal and professional life. By addressing this issue head-on, you can avoid undue strain on your mental and physical health, improve your work-life balance, and ultimately enjoy the holiday season as it was meant to be enjoyed.

Here are the questions answered in this blog post:

  • What are some strategies to manage time effectively during the holiday season?
  • How can we avoid the trap of perfectionism and overlook unrealistic expectations during the holidays?
  • What are the benefits of creating a 'don't list' in managing holiday stress?


  1.  What are some strategies to manage time effectively during the holiday season?
    The holiday season can be an excellent opportunity to relax, unwind, celebrate, and connect with loved ones. However, the hustle and bustle, unrealistic expectations, and a seemingly never-ending list of tasks can often lead to stress, making it challenging to have an enjoyable and meaningful celebration. This is where effective time management strategies come into the picture. By being proactive, intentional, and realistic about how you spend your time, you might be surprised to find yourself creating unforgettable experiences and memories, minus the familiar stress and frantic scrambling. In my conversation with Dr. Christina Shenvi, she shared valuable tips on managing time during the holiday season.

    The first step, she stresses, is deciding how you want to spend your time. This involves self-reflection and recognizing what you truly want your holiday to look like. She talks about the importance of avoiding 'shoulds' and focusing on what brings joy. For instance, if a grand dinner feels overwhelming, consider a quieter celebration with immediate family. The key is to make decisions that align with your desires and values. Dr. Shenvi also highlights the importance of planning and prioritizing activities. Creating a list of all holiday tasks and rearranging them based on importance can help determine which tasks you can handle and which can be delegated or avoided altogether. She warns against the trap of perfectionism and the impact of social media in fueling unrealistic expectations, suggesting a focus on peace and harmony instead.

    Our time, much like our energy, is a finite resource. We often find ourselves wishing for more hours in the day to get everything done. But the truth is, even with additional hours, we'd likely find new tasks to fill them. So, rather than yearning for more time, the smarter strategy is to manage our existing time better. This involves mindful decision-making, planning, and execution, centered around what truly matters to us. It's about creating a holiday season that aligns with our values, brings joy, and fosters genuine connections. After all, the holidays are meant to be a time of joy and celebration, not stress and exhaustion. So, as you approach this holiday season, remember to take a step back, reflect on what truly matters, and manage your time in a way that allows you to have a meaningful, enjoyable, and stress-free celebration.
  1.  How can we avoid the trap of perfectionism and overlook unrealistic expectations during the holidays?
    With the demands and rhythm of modern life, it can be easy to get swept away in the pursuit of an ideal, often impossibly perfect, holiday season. We're sold an image from media, advertisers, and even our hopes and dreams, which can set unrealistic expectations so high that they feel heavy to carry. Every detail, from the tasteful decorations, thoughtfully-chosen gifts, to the Pinterest-worthy festive spread challenges us to reach a bar that keeps rising, fueling this trap of perfectionism. And while the intention is to create a heartwarming and memorable time for loved ones, this pressure can lead to stress and burnout that strips away the joy and meaning of the season. Dr. Christina Shenvi, in our enlightening conversation, discusses how critical it is to realize that the quest for a picture-perfect holiday is often a misguided mission. Comparing our realities to highlight reels on social media or striving for a flawless festive presentation can create an emotional drain that prevents us from truly experiencing and cherishing the holiday spirit. Instead of bewitching ourselves with lofty ideals, she urges us to reclaim our time and energy by intentionally refraining from taking on every task and engaging in every tradition, especially those that may not resonate with us deeply.

  2. What are the benefits of creating a 'don't list' in managing holiday stress?
    By focusing on what genuinely brings us peace, fulfillment, and connection, we allow ourselves to craft a festive season that aligns with our true values and desires, not an unattainable image. The discourse surrounding perfectionism and unrealistic expectations isn't just relevant during the holiday season, but is a reflection of the larger narrative observed in our society. In the professional world and personal setting, we're constantly tempted to reach for higher, often impractical standards. This conversation, therefore, carries broader implications. By choosing to resist the allure of an idealized image in favor of treasuring real moments of connection, we gift ourselves an opportunity to quench the chase for faultlessness, and instead, learn to embrace and celebrate the perfect imperfections that make life authentic. With this perspective, not only would the holidays be less stressful and more enjoyable, but we could potentially carry these lessons into other aspects of our lives, fostering happiness, peace, and real engagement in the face of inevitable imperfections.

    For instance, is it absolutely necessary to make cookies from scratch, when buying store ones could save you precious time that you could otherwise spend with your loved ones? It's about considering options like delegating or outsourcing tasks. Critically, it's looking at your packed to-do-list and deciding what tasks you can let go. Now, one might wonder why bothering with this 'don't list' is so crucial. Well, the benefits it brings are quite significant. The first one lies in redirecting priorities. In our lives today, especially during festive periods like the holiday season, we are constantly bombarded with different demands. With all these expectations, we often lose sight of what's truly meaningful or enjoyable to us. By creating a 'don't list', we are afforded the opportunity to step back, introspect, and purposefully choose where we want to invest our time and energy. Moreover, with fewer commitments, we are more likely to perform better at tasks we actually commit to. Lastly, having fewer responsibilities means less stress and a higher likelihood of actually relaxing and relishing in the festive mood. This, we can all agree, is the epitome of a satisfying holiday season.

Understanding and embracing the importance of slowing down and simplifying during the holiday season is a crucial step for busy professionals. Dr. Christina Shenvi's insight offers a refreshing perspective on time management, demonstrating that the key to a less stressful holiday is not about stretching our hours thin, but rather investing them wisely. The questions we explored serve as a guide to help you reassess your priorities, manage your expectations, and navigate your way through the holiday hustle and bustle. So, remember to pause, reflect, and make conscious decisions about how you spend your time. This holiday season, set the intention to create a balance between fulfilling your responsibilities and enjoying the festivities.

This blog post was adapted from an episode of The Revitalizing Doctor podcast, you can listen to the full episode here.