How I Remain Joyful Through the Busiest Season of the Year

leopard mock neck shift dress

Hi, loves! Reporting today straight from a Hallmark movie. Not really, but pretty darn close. Last night I checked into the Gaylor Texan for a Christmas-themed staycation. Travis is joining me today, but my sister stayed with me last night and it was all the things – Christmas things that is. I wish y’all could’ve seen us because we were narrating our personal Hallmark movie all night. The setting is perfect with red poinsettias, lights, and Christmas trees everywhere. We did all the Christmas things we could last night including experiencing ICE! – Gaylord’s 2 million lb ice sculptures of the old Rudolph.

Presently, I am cozied up in bed working and watching Hallmark Christmas movies – duh. Grace, my sister, and I watched one of our favorites – Merry Kissmas, last night and this morning I’m watching Christmas Crush. If you’re a Hallmark Christmas movie lover like me, be sure to tell me your favorite in the comment section!

leopard mock neck shift dress

As the Christmas season begins, start so many fun traditions – Christmas lights, holiday events, carriage rides, and more. In addition to the fun traditions comes…busyness. It’s almost as if we’re made to believe we’re supposed to be busy. Christmas movies talk about the busyness of the season, news anchors report about it, influencers talk about it, and we start saying it ourselves. While there is truth to this season being busier than most, it doesn’t have to have a negative connotation.

Over Thanksgiving break when things got busy in the kitchen I started thinking about being “busy.” And y’all, busy doesn’t have to be bad. In fact, there is some “busy” that I like. I like the energy of everyone bustling around the house cooking food and wrapping presents. It’s an opportunity to chat with a loved one. I like the “busyness” of holiday events. They sure fill up your calendar fast, but they also give you chances to catch up with and love on people you may not get to see on a regular basis. All this to say though, I find that I have to be super intentional to remain joyful through the busy holiday season.

The holiday busyness can bring out the worst in me though if I don’t stay mindful of the real reason we celebrate Christmas. I am so prone to feeling over stressed, which makes me have a short fuse with the hubs and my girls.

Tips for Staying Joyful Through the Holidays:

  • embrace the busy – instead of fighting against the busyness of the season, just embrace it. I find that when I’m fighting the busyness it just makes me feel grumpy and start to resent the season. So, embrace it and learn to look forward to each event, each errand, and each gift-giving opportunity.
  • say “no” too – learning to say “no” is just as important as saying “yes.” In fact, I might argue that it’s more important to say no. If a full calendar leaves you feeling depleted and stressed, learn to say no and manage your calendar in a way that helps you sustain joy. I find that even though I feel energized from being around others, having something every night of the week depletes me. It makes me feel disconnected from my girls and that alone is reason enough for me to learn to say “no.”
  • me time – y’all, why is “me time” so dang hard to surrender to? If you struggle to allow yourself to have some me time when life gets crazy, put it on your calendar. I’m serious! Write down “run outside” or “bubble bath” or whatever it is you need to detox from the busyness.
  • date nights – this one may seem silly, but it’s so impactful. If Trav and I are off, my whole world gets off. I am shorter, quicker to speak, slower to listen, and less joyful. Hear me when I say Trav and I are not good at weekly or even monthly date nights, but we’re getting better! This season we’ve scheduled dates to keep us on track. They don’t have to be glamorous – it can be cooking a meal together – but the intentional time will for sure fuel your soul.
  • schedule intentional family time – this sounds silly, but if you don’t schedule in family time during the holidays it will likely get filled with something else. For us for example, we love doing the Advent with the girls, so Sunday afternoons/evenings are off limits for us. We also protect nights for family traditions like looking at lights, decorating cookies, etc.. Family time is sure to keep joy at the forefront!
  • serve others – one of my dear, dear friends always tells me that when I start to feel down or lost, to serve others. It’s amazing the change you’ll see in yourself and the joy you’ll feel when you focus less on yourself and more on others. So, wether you’re delivering cookies to your neighbors, helping a friend set up Christmas decorations, or serving in a soup kitchen, learn to serve others.

leopard mock neck shift dress

If you came here today for the details on this dress, let’s get chatting! This dress was an amazing $26 find from Nordstrom Rack. It comes in 4 colors including red, blue and black, but the leopard print just spoke to me. It looked super cute on the model, but I was a bit worried I wouldn’t be able to pull off a swing dress with my body type. Swing dresses can be hard to style because if they’re too big, they can swallow your figure. So, with this dress, I grabbed added something that would tame the fabric down and show my figure a bit better – my backpack. Some other tips on how to style a swing are below.

Tips for Wearing a Swing Dress:

  • belt it – if you feel as if your swing dress is swallowing up your figure, add a belt. A belt will give the dress a bit more structure and will give you an hourglass figure. Opt for a thin belt over a wide one.
  • narrow at top – a swing dress that is narrower at the top is another way to show off your figure. A swing dress that hugs your shoulders and décolletage area will give form to your body.
  • add a statement necklace – one way to help give more structure to your dress is to wear a statement necklace. A bigger necklace will help keep the fabric closer to your chest to show your figure.
  • layer with a scarf – layering a scarf will help the fabric lay better just like a statement necklace. It’s a great option for the winter time.

For more tips on how to style different dresses, check out my post on styling a drop waist dress, how to style a button down dress, how to wear a dress with sneakers, how to feel comfortable in a wrap dress, or what makes a good little white dress.

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dress: nordstrom rack | boots: tory burch (similar) | bag: a new day | sunnies: karen walker | necklace: dana rebecca

photography: fort lion studio