Did you know that it's actually possible to survive the holiday season with your sanity intact? The keys to less holiday stress are organization and lowered expectations. Oh, and a bit of self-pampering! 'Tis the season for relaxing bubble baths or time spent on a favorite hobby. Here are our favorite ways to make self-care part of your holiday season!
If you set a goal of having fun rather than a "perfect" holiday, you've already set yourself up for less stress. Instead of a formal dinner party, organize an ugly sweater potluck. And rather than driving yourself crazy spending hours looking for the perfect gifts, host a white elephant gift exchange. The laughter that results is a great stress reliever for everyone. Consider that an additional gift to those you care about!
Give Yourself the Gift of Exercise
It's easy to get so busy that you forget to exercise. A smartwatch or fitness tracker can remind you to get that important exercise in no matter how crazy things get. Verizon notes an Apple Watch is a sensible and fun choice, offering durability, heart rate monitoring, and splash resistance. For those who aren’t Apple fans, a Fitbit will let you count your daily steps, keep track of the calories burned, take your vital signs, and track your workouts. It also reminds you to move, encouraging you toward a target goal of at least 250 steps an hour.
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Eating Sensibly at Home and Away
With all of the hustle, bustle, shopping, parties, and stress during the holiday season, it's really easy to pack on the pounds. Women’s Health recommends keeping those calories under control with a few effective strategies. For example, it's tempting to sample every morsel on those canopy platters. Don't! Instead, choose three and try to avoid anything fried. Your body will thank you later!
Similarly, if it's a buffet, settle at a table or stand as far away as possible. You won't mindlessly chomp if you have to cross the room to get to it. Heading to the mall? Pack a healthy snack of nuts and dried fruit. Their protein and fiber will satisfy your cravings in a much healthier way than that giant cinnamon roll would.
Speaking of cinnamon rolls, if you adore baking during the holidays, try substituting healthy ingredients for some of the fat and sugar in your recipes. Chances are, nobody will even notice!
Organize Your Holidays
It's easy to get overwhelmed by everything going on during the holidays. After all, there are menus to plan, invitations to send, decorations to put up, parties and concerts to attend, gifts to wrap, and endless rounds of shopping. The key to surviving with your sanity intact is organization!
An app like the Cozi Family Organizer can help you keep your entire family organized. It lets you plan meals, create and share real-time shopping lists, and keep track of all the activities of a busy holiday season. Don't forget to schedule some family downtime, too!
Along those same lines, you don't need to say “yes” to every invitation. The Spruce recommends accepting a reasonable number of your favorites and then politely declining any others. It's surprising how much stress this simple tip relieves!
Ensure everyone stays on task, too. You can make a master list that covers everything. Then break that master list into smaller lists that cover individual projects/activities. Everyone in the family should also have their own to-do list to help spread the load.
Similarly, set up spaces in your home that are on-task. For instance, keeping all your baking spices and other baking supplies and tools in inexpensive plastic baskets and other containers makes baking quicker and easier than sorting them out from the chili powder or utensil drawer each time!
Instead of getting bogged down when it’s time to wrap up your well-chosen gifts, save time by setting up a gift-wrapping station with all your wrapping supplies near a table. Don't forget scissors and tape!
Following some or all of these tips should give you a chance to actually enjoy more of the holiday season this year. Why not try them out and see for yourself? Who knows, you may notice that some of them can make your life easier for the rest of the year, too!
In her first post on our blog, we want to thank Blue Ocean Life Nation contributor and founder of FitnessoftheMind.org, Amy Mason, for sharing her many helpful tips and tricks for staying healthy and SANE during the oftentimes stressful holiday season.