Kaizen is often used to describe the process of continuous improvement. That means making lots of small changes on a regular basis in order to ultimately improve the operation on a larger scale. It’s often applied to business and particularly to things like manufacturing and engineering.


But it can also be applied to your own personal goals.


If you take the approach of continuous improvement – of making lots of tiny little changes in your life on a regular basis – then over time you’ll be able to ‘upgrade’ every single aspect of your life and in a few years you can be in a whole different place.


Countless studies tell us that people resist extreme change.


That is to say that if you think you can wake up one morning and become a highly disciplined individual, then you’re in for a big surprise.


In order for change to be successful it must be incremental and it must be holistic. You have to change every aspect of yourself and your lifestyle to support yourself in the pursuit of your new goals.


And to do this, you need to make lots of small, manageable changes. This is the process that Rob and I have used over the years to continuously improve and elevate our health.




How to Use the Process to Reduce Holiday Stress

So how does this actually look once you start using it? How do you take this idea and turn it into a reliable blueprint that you can follow?


A good place to start would be at the beginning.


After we got married we noticed that some the holiday traditions we grew up with weren’t bringing us much joy.


So we sat down and put together a checklist of things that we wanted to change.


Look for one small change you can make to your holiday routines that can help to serve you in some tiny way in achieving your goal of reducing holiday stressors.


It’s time for you to put the “jolly” back in your holidays and create cherished holiday memories.


Here are a few of the strategies and ideas that changed our holidays from stressed out to joyous!




For Your Home

  • Identify old family traditions. Which ones do you love?
  • Opt to keep holiday traditions that bring you joy and happiness and give yourself permission to let go of old traditions that you aren’t fond of
  • Keep the kids busy with holiday crafts and while they are crafting, you can get more done
  • Use this as a time to clear the clutter and consider donating items to charity
  • Be careful of what you bring into your home by reducing environmental stressors, this such as: fragrance candles, natural trees or non PVC artificial tress, and of course use non toxic household cleaning products



For Your Health

  • Take time daily to meditate, even if only for a few minutes, every opportunity you can take is a positive hit your body’s “reset” button
  • Prioritize sleep and try to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep most nights
  • Be sure to stay hydrated and drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water
  • Schedule downtime into your day
  • Work on sticking to your routine and always avoid screen time at least an hour before bed
  • Resist the urge for quick and easy i.e. drive through and sugary snacks, with a little bit of planning you can have healthy snacks on hand that can keep your energy levels up
  • Acknowledge that everything doesn’t need to be perfect
  • Ponder what you really want to do to celebrate the holidays
  • Scale down your holiday plans
  • Plan celebrations that express what the holidays truly mean for you
  • Promptly ask for help when you need it




For Your Wealth

  • Set up and Stick to a budget
  • Make a gift list, considering the amount of money you can comfortably spend
  • Shop early and place gifts in a good hiding spot where you can find them so you’ll be ready for the holidays (yes, I’ve hidden gifts so good that we didn’t find them for years later!)
  • Suggest a family name-drawing to reduce gift expenditures
  • Reduce the amount of money you spend overall for the holidays and per gift
  • Avoid making credit card purchases at holiday time
  • Think about making homemade food gifts to save dollars at holiday time
  • Examine options for pre-made meals or catering services
  • Know that is it ok to take shortcuts like buying pre-made pies to save time
  • Simplify wherever you can when planning and holding festive celebrations
  • Shop early and make notes about where to get low-cost gifts
  • Consider giving gift cards to save time and precious energy
  • Order your groceries online, you’ll be amazed at how much life you get back, and it is really helpful if you tend to buy items that are not on your “list”




For Your Relationships

  • Start holiday planning and preparations earlier
  • Schedule time to be with your kids for some special holiday moments
  • Talk with family members and friends about what they want to do
  • Establish start and stop times for parties
  • Discuss challenging issues in advance with a person who tends to create tension
  • Use place cards to assign seating in efforts to avoid tension-filled holiday gatherings
  • Short-circuit disagreeable family discussions by interrupting or changing the subject
  • Inform all prospective attendees of your holiday plans in advance
  • If you are traveling with “littles” here is a great blog from our friend Heather Ganser which is perfect for Holiday Travel (or any time at all!)
  • Schedule downtime from social media and your phone (texting). Constantly checking your phone or tablet increases your stress levels. This alone will greatly reduce your anxiety and stress levels, trust that you are not missing out on a thing!


To your health and wellness and the beginning of a Wonderful Holiday Season! 


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