It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so the song says, but it’s also one of the busiest. The holiday season is when we typically overcommit ourselves with parties, family outings, and shopping. Add in the other everyday activities that still carry on and you’ve got yourself an overloaded timetable.
When time gets tight and something has to get dropped from the schedule, many of us drop the self-care routines and practices that we’ve cultivated all the rest of the year. But they don’t have to!
Watch what you eat and drink.
Whether it’s the spread at your company event or the crazy good baking at your mother-in-law’s house, it’s hard to resist all the great-tasting treats that crop up during the holiday season. There’s no reason why you can’t indulge in some of your sweet and savory favorites. Just make sure that instead of piling your plate with all the goodies, you take small portions of several things and load up on the veggies, salad, and other healthier alternatives.
Another area where we tend to overindulge at this time of year is in the drinks department. A glass of wine is fine. Two glasses of wine, a vodka cooler, a rum, and eggnog? Not so much. Alternate drinks with water to stay hydrated and don’t end up overdoing it.
Stock the freezer with healthy meals.
Everyone’s overextended during the holiday season, and most of us prefer to spend our time shopping, decorating, or visiting with friends and family. Reduce stress by being proactive! Several weeks ahead of time, cook meals intended for the freezer. You’ll be glad you did when you can pop one of the meals into the oven or microwave and turn your attention instead to something fun!
Throw perfection out the door!
Stop obsessing over doing it all. The world is not going to come to an end if the house is a little cluttered or dinner is on the table a few minutes late. Focus your time on the people you enjoy spending time with. Don’t sweat the small stuff and your holiday will be much more enjoyable.
Set a spending budget.
The holiday season and spending go hand-in-hand. Between buying gifts for your children, spouse, and relatives, you can easily drop hundreds of dollars over the next few weeks. Set a budget and stick to it, so you are not stressing about your finances over the holidays. Also, consider that it’s unnecessary to give gifts to everyone you know or are related to. Limit gifts to those closest to you, and bake holiday cookies for those you’d like to acknowledge or thank.
Just because you don’t have the time to get in your usual ten-mile run during this time of year doesn’t mean you can’t do a lot to stay active. You just have to think strategically: walk to work or at the mall (before you start your shopping); take the stairs at the office; skip the third office lunch of the week and get out for some fresh air. A lot of shorter activities still add up, keeping your activity level up. If you can, start your day dressed in activewear so that your workout is wherever and whenever you can fit it in without getting your party clothes all sweaty!
Minimize the stress.
Trying to do it all and being everywhere during the holiday season just isn’t possible, and it leads to a lot of stress. Choose the events that you will RSVP “yes” to with care. Make sure that family events are not stacked one on top of the other, particularly if you have to travel to get to them. The holiday season is a busy time on the roads and in the air, so leave yourself some extra breathing room in your travel time to avoid the stress of feeling like you’re always late.
Keep daily rituals.
If you have a daily ritual of doing yoga or catching up on the news with a cup of coffee each morning, continue that activity throughout the holiday season. Our everyday practices help calm and center us.
Shift your focus.
We tend to think of holiday family time as sitting around a table or hanging around in the kitchen, drinks, and nibbles in hand. But maybe it’s time to set up some new traditions that take everyone outside and do some different. Like what? How about going caroling? Or sledding, if snow permits? How about a long walk in the woods or an outdoor fire pit to enjoy? Shifting your focus from food to quality time spent together is what the holiday season is all about!