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Less Pressure, More Joy: A Professional Organizer Recommends "Less Stress" Holidays

Time is a gift. Spend it freely
with people you love.
     Supermarket check-out lines abound with idea-intensive magazines which either inspire us to a decorating-and-designing frenzy or leave us drowning in guilt and inadequacy over all the fabulous crafts, cookies and creations we have no time for or fear we could never achieve. The relentless pressure to have the best holidays that money can buy and perfectly deck our heavily-mortgaged halls can wear us down at the time we most want our spirits up. In her “Less Stress Holiday” workshops and in consultations with private clients, Professional Organizer and Life Coach Donna Jaroslawski recommends what she calls “the anti-idea perspective: Simplify. Streamline. Do less so you can enjoy more.”
       Beyond the clear financial benefits of rethinking this “more-is-more” mindset we can realize an almost immediately positive impact on relationships. “We can eat and spend less but do more,” says Jaroslawski, “For example, go for a walk to see holiday lights rather than having a food focused evening.” (For a list of spectacular Long Island holiday lighting displays click here.) “Engage kids in making gifts – a fun holiday tradition with your kids that produces an inexpensive but thoughtful gift with personal meaning,” she recommends.
      Letting go of the external pressures and thinking for ourselves is a central message in Jaroslawski’s presentations - click here for a complete list of topics - as well as in coaching individual clients to reduce the actual clutter in their homes, reassess cluttered schedules and understand the inner and outer forces that drive us to overdo, overbook, and overspend. “Less stress is about changing expectations, and we shouldn’t expect things to go perfectly,” she explains “Don’t try to keep up with what you perceive everyone else is doing,” she advises. “Tune into what brings YOU joy.”
Some more suggestions for family-and-friendship-focused streamlining from the “Less-Stress Holidays” workshops:
  • Take Dad or Mom on a holiday errand with you and turn it into a family memory;
  • Bring 2 families together with yours for a holiday meal – and make it a pot luck (the hostesss doesn’t cook);
  • Invite friends to family celebrations. It’s quality time with friends (and keep your family on their best behavior);
  • When buying your Christmas tree take a family photo – use it as your holiday card;
  • Think in multiples when shopping, e.g. hostess gifts, “thank-you” gifts for kids’ teachers and other people who provide a service, older relatives, etc.
  • Shop for out of town relatives on the internet and have it shipped directly to the recipient;
  • Let your fingers do the walking … call to make sure a store has what you need in stock;
  • Put a dollar limit on what to spend on each person – and stick to it!
"Take time to think about how you will feel about your decisions in January," Jaroslawski suggests. Contact her by email: or phone: 516.635-2007.

About CrAzYToWn: How do you know that nice, helpful guy in the next cubicle is a psychopath? You don’t. In Crazytown, real-life therapist/performer Jude Treder-Wolff takes you down the rabbit hole of belief that led to her being blind-sided by reality. It’s a comic take on an over-eager therapist getting over herself (when nothing else seemed to be working). And these days, when our phones are smarter than we are, and we can meet, fall in love, shop for a ring and get some counseling with someone and never meet them in person – it’s a cautionary tale about how authentic a completely fake person can be. Click here for information about upcoming performances.


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