It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, for some. For others, it can be one of the most stressful and depressing times of the year. Either way, the holidays are here. Doesn’t matter if you love all things bright and twinkly or if you want to throw on a snuggie and hibernate until early Spring, you’re at the height of the holiday season. Instead of just surviving it, why don’t you decide–right now–that you are going to thrive, no matter your situation, during this, the most wonderful time of the year.
“How do I do that?”
Well, with a little guidance and a whole lot of resolve and gumption, you can get through anything. Even the holidays! Whether you’re one who loves to breeze through the season singing and laughing all the way only to find that you’ve packed on a couple of pounds, or you’re one whose goal is to just make it through the next two hours of your 10th Christmas party, let us help you out with some helpful holistic holiday tips.
- Manage stress before it starts managing you. This is number one for a reason. Perspective is everything. Don’t stress yourself out if every little thing is not done on time or to your liking. Focus on the most important aspects. Get as organized as you can ahead of time. Make a schedule. If things don’t go according to plan, don’t sweat it. You are not responsible for everyone else’s happiness. You do not make the world spin, and it won’t stop spinning if something doesn’t get done.
- Treat your kitchen like a sacred communal space. If you’re one who loves to cook or gets stuck with most of the cooking, be intentional about turning your kitchen into a calm and relaxing environment. Do not try to live up to anyone’s expectations. Cook what you want to cook. Bake what you want to bake. The kitchen is usually the heart of the home. If you have people standing around, chatting it up, put them to work! Learn to delegate. Cutting veggies, rinsing fruit, making the salad–everyone gets a job. Give the little ones “big” responsibilities like setting the table or setting out placemats and silverware. Everyone helps, and you feel supported.
- Follow the 90/10 rule. The holidays usually mean indulgence. And that’s ok IF you don’t go crazy. Some of the richest comfort foods are served during the holidays. Give yourself permission to enjoy it. But, remember to follow this rule: 90% of your diet should remain healthy, but with the other 10%, you can allow yourself some sweet treats and indulgences. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. Only eat and drink what you’re really going to enjoy. Food is not your enemy.
- Keep healthy snacks accessible. It’s easy to forget to nourish ourselves properly when we’re running around, preparing for the holidays. Make sure to keep healthy snacks readily available. Stock the fridge with veggie sticks and cut up fruit. Make some high-protein dips like hummus or guacamole to go along with the veggie sticks. Keep nuts and trail mix at the forefront of the pantry, making it easy for the little ones to reach for a quick, healthy snack.
- Drink Plenty of Water. Limit sodas, alcohol, and other beverages. Not only will water keep you hydrated, warding off headaches and hunger, good ol’ H2O will help maintain your energy level as well. Who doesn’t need that? Make sure your drinking throughout the day.
- Exercise. Yes, we know. Who has time to fit in exercise during the busiest time of the year? Just trust us. Exercise helps reduce stress by increasing endorphins and serotonin in the brain. That will help you to stay stress-free, happy, and focused. Walk the dog. Take an extra lap or two around the store when you’re shopping. Take the stairs. There are countless ways to incorporate more exercise into your holiday routines. Aim for at least thirty minutes of fresh-air activity each day.
- …But, Rest. This is the bookend to #1 for a reason. With all of the running around, cooking, shopping, prepping, organizing, and gathering that you find yourself in the middle of–Don’t forget to rest. Proper sleep and relaxation will help keep your immune system strong, as well as relieve stress. After the long days of doing, running, and being present, it’s important to wind down. Grab a cup of hot tea and a book. Watch your favorite holiday movie with your family. Take a hot bath by candlelight. Take a long, hot shower. Get a full night’s sleep. Rest. Relax. And repeat it all again tomorrow. Learn how to say “no”. Choose activities that truly give you joy. Create margin. You don’t have to show up to everything you’re invited to or are expected to attend. You are allowed space and authority in your own life.
The holidays should be just that. Holy Days. If we can learn to slow down, breathe deep, and focus on who and what is around us, we will find the sacredness and holiness of the season. Even in the midst of the hustle and bustle, we can invite the Holy and Sacred into our world. It would be a disservice to us, and our loved ones, to let the season pass in a fury of stress-filled busyness. Take time this season to focus on what really matters. Everything else can wait.
From our families to yours, Merry Christmas and happy holidays!