Despite the chilly temperatures and increase in dark skies, the December holiday season is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the smells and the music and the decorations. I love time with my family and sending cards and taking part in the traditions that have been ingrained in me throughout my life. I love the excitement and wonder of it all!
All sounds pretty magical, doesn’t it? And it is, but that’s not the whole story. The images you see in magazines and on television of “perfect” holiday scenes — of snowballs and hot cocoa and matching sweaters — also don’t tell the whole story.
While the holidays are in fact, one of my favorite times of the year, they can also be a wee bit stressful. Planning trips, finding the perfect gift, the endless holiday parties and obligations that all require extra baking or cooking… it often adds up to less sleep, less nourishing food, and more (often MANY more) items on the to-do list.
So can you have your cake and eat it too? Can you enjoy the magic of the season, tackle your to-do list AND keep your sanity? I can’t promise miracles (I’m not Santa Claus!) but these 5 tips can start you in the right direction.
- Set a daily priority. Whether it’s the night before, or as you finish your morning tea, decide what the one (or maybe two) things are that are non-negotiables and plan your day around checking them off the list. That way, no matter how many items remain on the list, you can feel the sweet accomplishment of checking the box off as completed.
- Move your body! Yes, I know getting in an hour-long spin class isn’t always feasible with extra obligations on the calendar, but finding opportunities for authentic movement is ALWAYS do-able. Before shopping, do two laps around the mall to scope out the stores and get in some steps. Park far away and take the stairs. And nothing gets the blood flowing quite like a dance party in the kitchen while you bake your 9 millionth tray of cookies!
- Nourish your body when you can. Holiday parties aren’t often highlighted by kale and flax seed, but chances are you aren’t partying from dawn until dusk every day. Never leave home without a snack and brown-bag your lunch when you can. Fill your plate with veggies, protein, and healthy fats, and then when you find yourself face-to-face with the chocolate fondue fountain, enjoy it stress-free knowing you are doing your best to nourish your body the majority of the time.
- Schedule some me-time at least once a week. While it would be lovely to start and end every day at the spa, that’s just not practical. What is practical is planning an hour of time just for you once a week, and putting it on the calendar as non-negotiable. Reserve the guest room at a friend’s house to take a nap, enjoy a manicure between errands, or take yourself out for a meal, just on your own.
- Keep it real. When things feel like they are just too much to handle, it can be helpful to pause, take a deep breath, and put it all in perspective. Is the world REALLY going to end if your ribbon isn’t curled? What about if the icing isn’t perfect on the cookies? It will not. Take a breath, look around to soak in the magic that is already in your life, and move on.
Cheers to a holiday season of health, happiness, and healthy stress relief!