Let’s not kid ourselves, if you’re here for some last-minute Halloween prep ideas, then having a mindful Halloween was the last thing on your mind the past few days.
That’s ok. You’re in good company, with parents and kids all over the world scrambling to finish costumes and buy treats. Now is the time to let go of the shoulds and woulds. Stop beating yourself up and focus on the coulds. Mindfulness is about staying in the moment and that is what you can do right now.
Before you continue, take a couple of minutes to center yourself. Pause. Breathe. Meditate. The few minutes you take to compose yourself will go a long way in helping you calm down, think more clearly, and plan better. If you find that a couple minutes is not enough to help ease your anxiety, take a few more minutes. Believe me, you will get more done once your mind is clear.
Make a checklist
I don’t have time to make a checklist!
If that’s what you’re thinking, consider this, are there things you know you need to do even without them written down? Do you need to buy some treats? Do you need to find a bowl to put them in? Do you need to find the face paint you stored somewhere last year?
If you have a few things that need to be done before the trick or treating starts, then you already have a checklist, except that it isn’t written down. What you have is a mental checklist. True, you can always operate and get things done with a mental checklist, but writing down your checklist is very helpful, especially when you’re in a crunch.
Depending on a mental checklist is problematic because we are prone to forgetting things. This is especially true if you have a long list of things to do, and not necessarily all of them are related to your Halloween prep. Mental checklists, instead of being helpful, can be draining.
It won’t take you more than 10 minutes to write down your checklist, and what’s better is you can easily keep track of things with a quick glance. No need to wrack your brains out trying to remember everything that still needs to be done.
You can write your checklist on a piece of paper and post it in your fridge or type it on your phone so you can take it everywhere you go without losing it, the important thing is you have that visual reminder that you can easily refer to.
Prioritize AND Be Realistic
Be mindful as you prioritize and stick to what is important AND doable. The fact remains that you might not have time to do all the things you want to be done, so go over your list and pick out the top two to three things that NEED to be done, and that you know CAN be done given the limitations.
If you have children, then making their costumes trumps decorating your front porch. Figuring out logistics for little ones, like who goes out with them also comes first.
If you are going out to attend a party and no one will be home, aside from what to wear, you need to figure out how the neighborhood kids can get their treats and what kind of treats to give them.
Throwing a party? Now that’s a feat. Maybe you need to focus on food, drinks, and music. Or maybe you can put, GET HELP, as the first thing on your to-do list.
Ask for help
Getting help is always a good idea. Not only does it mean getting more things done, but it also means making the holiday prep a shared experience. In trying to get help remember to go about it in a mindful manner and…
Be grateful – Approach other people with gratefulness in your heart, even before they agree to help. Your attitude as you ask will show so that people will be more open to helping. Being unsure or demanding as you approach people will, on the other hand, give off negative energy that might turn others off.
Verbally ask for help – If you do not explicitly ask for help, you can’t expect people around you to just step up and suddenly help. Expecting help without asking for it verbally is being passive-aggressive, which leads to miscommunication and conflict. You might think that it’s obvious that you need help, but what is obvious to you isn’t always obvious to others.
Be specific – In communicating your need, you cannot just say, “I need help.” Being specific removes all ambiguity and ensures you get the help you need. If you have one thing you need for them to do, like looking bowl for the treats, then ask them to do just that. If you need help with more things, then a good way to go about it is by showing them your checklist and asking them which tasks they can do right away.
Give choices – As mentioned earlier, it is a good idea to have others pick out the tasks they want to do for you. This eases the burden of helping since they get to choose as opposed to being dictated on. Having others pick out what to do also has the benefit of having things done excellently because they actually want or like what they are doing.
Show your appreciation – This should go without saying, but a reminder never hurts, so remember to always show your appreciation for any help you receive.
Get on with it
Now that you have everything lined up, get cracking on that checklist. Cross things out and add to it as needed, while keeping your priorities straight all the time.
Always keep in mind that Halloween should be fun. If it has become a mere chore with no fun in sight, then maybe you should take a long pause and rethink your approach to holidays. In the meantime, take as many short breaks as you need to refocus and reenergize, try to stay in the moment, and have a happy Halloween.