The holidays can be crazy but they don’t have to be-seriously. Here are 8 tips to help you find your peace this holiday season. Please feel free to share some of your tips!
1. HYDRATE! When the weather starts to cool down, we start to forget we are thirsty. It is so very important to remember to drink your water. It is recommended we drink half of our body weight in ounces per day. i.e. if you weigh 130 lbs, you would drink 65 oz. per day. WHY is it so important to stay hydrated? Our body’s organs will not function to the best of their ability if we are not hydrated. Water allows the body to function properly and work to the best of its ability. Remember, our body is made up of roughly 70% water. Water also helps to keep our skin hydrated and prevent drying out in the cold weather. Tip: Carry a water bottle with you at all times. I don’t go anywhere without either my hydroflask or lifefactory bottle.
2. I like to MOVE it. The benefits of exercise are endless. Some of the top benefits include: increased energy, combats health conditions/disease, improved self-confidence and mood, and many, many more! If you are already working out regularly – keep it up! Do not let the holidays stop you. If you are not regularly working out, now is a great time to start. For newbies, consider adding in walks or some light cardio on the treadmill or elliptical. A yoga or Pilates class is another great option- I always recommend Bikram (suitable for beginners-no lie). You can gradually work your way up to more vigorous workouts. Tip: I highly recommend scheduling your “workout appointments”. Write your workouts in your daily planner and respect these appointments as you would any other. Your health should be your top priority. A workout buddy is another great way to help you stick to your workouts as long as they are dedicated and reliable, otherwise – they will help you make excuses!
3. EMBRACE it all. I absolutely love the holidays and I believe it’s because I embrace (almost) everything about them. I love the commotion and excitement. Lights, decorations, hustle & bustle. It’s a warm and fuzzy time of year. I have a very hard time letting such a good thing stress me out. Take deep breaths, embrace the craziness, and remember the true meanings of the holidays. Tip: Think of a holiday tradition you can do every year to get you in the holiday spirit!
4. FUEL with Intention. Eating habits can become a vicious cycle around the holidays. Don’t let this happen. If you get derailed, remember that everyday is a fresh start. Unfortunately, flu season coincides with the holiday season so it is extra important to execute healthy eating habits. Doing this will keep your immune system strong and ready to fight off illness. Healthy eating will help you have more energy so you are able to more productive and you will feel better. Proceed with caution at all social gatherings. One of the worst ideas, in my opinion (and I have been guilty of this) is not eating much during the day in an attempt to “save yourself” for a gathering. More than likely, you will be starving by the time you get there and make not so great choices once there and/or end up overeating. Tip: I LOVE my crock pot this time of year. I usually make something healthy on my day off that I can have throughout the week in order to prevent any last-minute, not-so-healthy-choices due to lack of time. Meal planning is HUGE. I try to eat extra veggies and greens the day of a party. By making better food choices the day of a gathering, you can crowd out the not so great choices.
5. ALCOHOL with caution. Do not hate me but this has to be said. Alcohol is very capable of being your biggest saboteur. We all know this. Commit to setting limits for your consumption. If I want to have a glass or two when I am out, I will skip having a glass at home during the week. I also find it helpful to decide before I go to a party whether I want to have a glass or two of wine OR dessert, then stick to it. The key is not having more than a glass or two otherwise, it is likely that my inhibitions will be lowered and I will end up having alcohol AND many desserts. If that happens at every gathering -> NOT GOOD! To help me stick to my plan, I think about the hard work that went into my workouts leading up to now, the progress I have made, and the workout I want to get in the next day. If I feel like crap the next day, I will likely not feel like working out. It is not worth it to let the alcohol negate all of my hard work. Tip: I often like to commit to being the DD when we go to parties (Danny always lovingly supports this decision ;) ) because then drinking is not even an option allowing me to feast mindfully and avoid the empty, liquid calories.
6. Keep it simple and BUDGET. Make a list and check it twice. In my opinion, people go way overboard and it’s unnecessary. I like to make a list of every person I want to buy for and then write down about 3-5 ideas for each person of things they can really use. I also set a total holiday budget and then a budget for each individual on my list. The list helps prevent impulse buys and having three to five ideas allows for flexibility while I am out shopping. Tip: Really consider what the person you are buying for needs, not what you want them to want. I always appreciate getting gifts that I can use rather than something I could take or leave that ends up creating clutter or I have to return.
With our Simplify the Holidays campaign, New Dream is here to help you get started. We hope our tips and resources will help you reduce stress and increase personal fulfillment during this holiday season. Simplify the holidays calendar.
7. DONATE. Period. It is not the holiday season if you have not helped someone in need. Clothes, food, toys, shoes, books, your time, *SOCKS. The possibilities are endless. You can choose a child/family to “adopt” for the holiday. This is what I do every year and it is so much fun. You get the child’s/children’s ages, wish list, etc. It feels really good to be able to help people in need have a merrier holiday. The first year I “adopted” a family, I learned they had never had a Christmas tree - they had an 8-year-old and a newborn. This was also the first year I broke my rule against artificial trees-this way they would have a tree every year. Every year I am happy I am in a place to be able to help and so appreciative for all I have. Every year, the kids I get ask for socks, coats, gloves something warm. Some people have asked me “What kind of kid wants socks for Christmas?” I always respond with, "The kind of kid who doesn’t have any." Wegman’s sets up a donation box for new toys. Many books stores, gyms, hospitals, churches, and others do the same. Veterinary offices and animal shelters usually collect food/toys for shelter animals. Check out my favorites page for some of the charities I love. Also, consider donating after the holidays. If you have kids who tend to get spoiled by relatives, encourage them to donate some of their “excess” to kids in need. Tip: Make this your holiday tradition.
*Socks are one of the most needed items that are rarely donated. Read more here.
8. ME TIME. Give this to yourself. This will keep you going and merrily. You deserve it and don’t convince yourself otherwise. Enjoy a massage, facial, pedicure, etc. Take a nice bubble bath and just relax or (carefully) read in there. Curl up with a blanket and a book. Watch your favorite Christmas movie while drinking hot chocolate. Make cookies (if you find that therapeutic). Meditate. Tip: LOSE THE PHONE (and other electronics) for your me time. I’m serious. Give this time to yourself. Put your phone on silent and plug it in to charge in another room or stash it in a drawer. If you are having a spa service, leave it in the car.