Terri Kersch

Terri Kersch, MA, CWC, CHES
Certified Wellness Coach
Certified Health Education Specialist

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Terri’s Tilt — Making a List and Checking it Twice: Santa is Right ON!

Many of us had not yet digested our Thanksgiving turkey, when our thoughts and actions turned to one of the busiest and most demanding months of the year. Whether we have young children or not, we somehow get drawn in, as if by magnet, to the rush of Black Friday, the messages of the media and the overwhelming myriad of to-do’s we create for ourselves. How amazing, that joyful activities such as writing greetings to friends far and near, decorating the house, choosing gifts for those we love, and socializing can become ugly and demanding tasks! Not only are expectations and demands anxiety provoking, but equally or, more so, for some, the projected joy and love of the season bring incredible stress for those who have experienced loss, or are alone for any reason at all. We are told this is the season to by happy…but for many, this is the loneliest and/or most stressful time of the year.

As we listen to the music and see the lights of the season, how can we bring balance to the demands of life, perceived and/or real and the true needs of our inner selves – that part that keeps us healthy and empowers us to walk through this season with energy and excitement and protects us from the negative stress which drains every ounce of energy?

Here is a short list – gathered from elves round the country who specialize in stress reduction:

  • Let’s take an important lesson from Santa. Health experts agree he was right on when he makes his list and checks it twice. One of the most protective things we can do to face this month with a smile, positive anticipation, excitement, and even appreciation, is to learn to be a list maker and follower.

    • Each day, make list of things you wish to accomplish. You might have a symbol that indicates high importance and another that indicates urgency. Tasks receiving both symbols will be the first ones to tackle the next day. Tasks with neither symbol beg you to ask if they really need doing! Be careful, however, these can jump into the important and/or urgent column! This is when that checking the list twice comes into play

    • If you have some ‘ugly’ tasks – the ones you do not want to do, for whatever reason, but they are important and/or urgent, do them first. You will always have energy to complete the tasks you enjoy – it will seem like a reward. Leaving the unpleasant tasks until last makes them exponentially more unpleasant!

  • Use the ‘Pepperoni Theory’ when beginning a task
    • When making a pizza, you would never put a whole stick of pepperoni atop the pizza. Slice it into bite sized, manageable pieces. Tasks are like that pepperoni; slicing them into smaller steps accomplishes two things: Allows you to move forward with greater success and allows you stopping points so as well as opportunities to take advantage of small bits of time to move toward completion
  • Plan for interruptions If you expect something to take 45 minutes, plan 55 minutes or an hour. If you are interrupted, you have time built in. If you complete the task sooner, enjoy the moments left over or begin a piece of another task – or to play
  • Catch yourself

    • Doing something well, following your best advice and guidance – celebrate the success

    • Doing something from old and negative patterns. This is an opportunity to regroup and gives us the opportunity to begin again – no grumpiness, no regrets

  • Take good care of yourself
    • Eat well

    • Exercise regularly

    • Practice stress management: breathe, listen to good music, practice mindfulness in all you do, pay attention to quiet inside and outside of yourself, enjoy the small things – a rich life is comprised of individual moments, spend time with someone you love, laugh – it still is good medicine and seek support from those you value and respect.

  • Practice TNT– Today, Not Tomorrow.

    • Learn to do, delegate, or dismiss tasks…as appropriate

    • Remember the 3 P’s that sabotage success: procrastination, being a pack rat, and perfectionism…do it once, do it well, and move on

These are just a few techniques that can bring balance to our lives as we race toward the holidays. Be forewarned! Following them may not solve all our winter blues, but they will smooth our paths to success and wellbeing. Even Santa struggled through sleet and blizzards. So, make that list, check it often, adhere to strong follow through skills and even the most challenging journey will more focused and successful. And that means time for relaxation, good company and genuine HO, HO, HO’s.


Terri Kersch     (518) 368-2285     Contact me via email
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