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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Jade Merrihue





In a time where everyone is buzzing around from party to party, where people are shopping more than usual, where families tend to come to town and claim any free time.

A time known for celebrating that can be quite tough on anyone if you’ve recently lost someone, broken up, lost a job, gotten clean, or gained a bunch of weight.

In times like these, celebrating, being grateful, and actively social can feel like a circus hell hole of demanding social pressures.

My second #holidayhack is to SIMPLIFY.

AND turn your calendar from RED to GREEN.

TO feel like life is easier and more simple, one must first SIMPLIFY and take back control of your time.

Take back control of your calendar and thus, of the pressure many of us struggle with, in the holiday season.

You can do this by Marie Kondoing your calendar ( ). She works on simplifying your space by getting rid of things like clothes, books, trinkets, furniture around you that don't bring you joy or happiness. In essence, when you do this your space is left with only things that bring you happiness and peace thus becoming a more happy and peaceful person.

I'm applying her philosophy to your TIME.

I will describe what to do below.

Go day by day in your calendar for the entire month of December and January.

See what you have scheduled in.

And just for funsies, cross out ANYTHING THAT YOU ARE A ‘MAYBE’ TO, OR DON’T WANT TO GO TO.

If your calendar is digital- change the color of events you’re not excited about to RED.

You can always change it back. This is an exercise for YOU.

Now, if your whole calendar is RED, we may have figured out the problem behind your holiday crunchiness. You’re living a life where you’re investing your most precious resource (time) and energy into things that bring you no joy. It would make anyone grinchy.

But not to fret, this is not entirely your fault. We are taught that we “have” to do things in order to prove to the people in our lives that they are important to us and we love them. At whatever cost.

Guess what, you still love that person even if you don’t go to that party or do that thing.

Side effects of this ridiculous game of trying to prove we love people by doing things we don't want to do all the time:

- Total lack of self-knowledge around what we like to do when we have abundant, free, open time, all for our selves…

*this is not to say we should never see our families or do things that make us uncomfortable. But this is a practice of seeing HOW much of your time is YOUR time and how much of your time is dedicated to doing things you don't want to do.

The goal is to start experimenting with what a life where everything on your calendar is green (as in you actually want to do it) would look like...

And below are some easy suggestions...

------------ DE-GRINCHING 101

3 EASY STEPS TO REDUCING Calendar-Induced-Grinchiness (CIG- a very serious new condition I’m now coining).


Make a list of all the things you have EVER wanted to do/experience.

Don’t care how ridiculous, inaccessible, or (insert excuse here) like...“you have never had time”... “you don’t have enough money saved for”... “you could never do alone”... “would be a waste of time”... bla bla blady bla…. I don’t care.

NAME THEM. Even if this list has ‘tame a buffalo’ or ‘play 8 hours of uninterrupted video games on 12 cans of RedBull’, 'don't wear pants for a week', 'write a comic book on your dream sex life', 'make a series of grilled cheeses to experiment different cheese/hot sauce combos'.

WRITE IT. Be honest. Get weird. Get creative.


NEXT step would be to completely CLEAR out your calendar (naughty rebel you).

If it doesn’t bring you joy, GET RID OF IT.

AND attempt to fill it with at least one thing that you would NEVER do on a holiday, or give yourself permission to do when the family is in town.

I want you to make this one thing you choose - the MOST IMPORTANT THING ON YOUR CALENDAR. And go do it.



For every red thing on your calendar, you add a green thing from your wish-list. And you're going to do it.

Massage, hooker, an entire cheesecake, I don’t care.

But make it something you don’t do on the reg. The aim is to make it special and lean into that edge and pamper the SH** out of yourself. I bet you enjoy every last red thing on your calendar 80% more after you've indulged yourself.


Observe and track what comes up in you as you do this exercise.

Do you completely avoid it?

Tell yourself that you could never do the thing you want to do?

Call your ideas stupid and put them aside?

If so, this can be very illuminating.

How can you choose to do things that you actually enjoy if you have NO idea what those things are and when you try and think about them you attack yourself/ the process? If at first, you don’t succeed, try again.

Additionally, if you’re going with the BRAVE OPTION in step two. Observe and track the reaction of the people around you as you choose to honor yourself first.

Are they enraged? Do they withdraw? Or are they completely understanding, loving, and supportive?

If people are enraged - it’s not a reflection of them being bad or mean people. It's also not a fair reflection of what they are capable of supporting you in, later on in the future.

It’s more a reflection of how much you’ve dishonored what you actually want to do in life, over and over again.

So much so, that the people in your life have come to EXPECT that you will do things ‘because you should’ vs. ‘because you really want to’.

Be patient with them. Even if it's very uncomfortable. It might take them a little time to understand the sudden change of attitude or the changes of choices you are making with what to do with your time.

Some people might fight you, to test you, to test what you’re doing, so they can better trust and understand it.

Hold strong. Share what you’re up to if you like, or don’t if you don’t believe they will understand yet.

If they are understanding and supportive, you are a lucky pumpkin. Get going on that list ;)


We do exercises like this to combat chronic dissatisfaction. The fact is we all work our butts off and time is a scarce resource.

If your days are planned and filled with things you think you 'should do', you will inevitably start feeling like life is pointless and there is no hope for you.

This is a repercussion of feeling like you have no autonomy or control of your sense of pleasure in life and what you do on the reg.

The best way to get access to the feeling of autonomy, of freedom, of control, is to stop doing things - even if just for a few weeks- that you feel obligated to do and invest your time in things that are a “FUCK YES” when you ask yourself if you’re excited about them.

We experience the quality of life as a combination of our most frequent experiences + feelings.

If you work all week and do nothing that brings in that ‘fuck yes’ feeling then the majority of your hours are spent feeling a resounding ‘why the fuck am I doing this’.

It adds up and leads to Calendar-Induced-Grinchiness (CIG).

You can begin to bring balance into your daily life experience with a little effort and attention. I know figuring out what brings you ACTUAL “fuck yes-ness” can be tricky and uncomfortable.

I know, letting down family and loves one can feel like your heart is being ripped out (I’m Russian and LATIN people- could you get more intense family styles?).

But you only get one life and I promise you that once you FEEL more ‘fuck yes’ in your daily life, going to the family things, going to work, going to the “maybe’s” on your calendar will feel ETERNALLY better to you.

Because you’re not having to constantly choose between your happiness and the preferences of others.

You get BOTH.

This may require cultivating curiosity around new things you haven't considered are possible for you, practice, strategy around people's reactions to you, around how to financially fund or navigate whatever you may desire on that green wish-list of yours.

Turn that calendar from Red to Green to stop being such a holiday a-hole ;)

And as usual, if you have no idea where to start or you’re in the thick of it. Reach out to me, let’s get you started...

We’re in this together.

Happy (of grumpy) holidays folks!

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