The holidays are notorious for getting too-packed, too-quickly. There’s parties for the adults. Cookie decorating with the kids. Fighting the crowds. Neighbor gifts. Co-worker gifts. All the gifts for your family. And then wrapping all the gifts. Secret Santa. Random Acts of Kindness and Charity. Going to See Santa. Elf on the Shelf. Guests. All.the.BAKING! Phew! I’m exhausted just writing that all out. Let alone the fact that I have to go through those motions over the next few weeks.
The problem with all this stress is that it can have a very negative effect on our health. One of the number one ways we tend to deal with our stress is to EAT. We turn to food because it provides a sense of comfort. And those Reese’s trees. (oh.mah.gah, right?) How many Reese’s Trees do you think you normally consume in the holiday season? Or maybe it’s not the trees, but it’s all the cookies you’re making as gifts. It can be anything. The point is, we turn for whatever food is the closest and can calm down these overwhelming feelings we get during the holidays. And then we’re stuck trying to scramble and lose our holiday weight at the new year.
What if there wasn’t a holiday weight gain at all though? What if you could combat that before it even starts! I have a few tools for you to get you started!
Plan fun holiday activities with your family. I know it sounds counter-productive to be planning one more event on top of everything else you have going on, but this is a different kind of event. This is an activity with just your little family. You, your partner-in-crime, and the kids. Make it fun and stress-free. Go sledding. Plan a big snowball fight. Bake together as a family. Go to see Christmas lights around the neighborhood and warm up with hot cocoa afterwards. This is meant to break up the chaos and really spend time with those who are closest to you.
Make some much-needed time for yourself. I know this is the season of no-free-time, but you’ve got to make it happen. Go get a fun holiday manicure. Plan a night of bubble-bath, wine, and your favorite book. Just relax and enjoy your YOU time. It’s important!
Make a holiday calendar/planner. Plan our your entire month. Everything you have going on. And then evaluate each day. Is there too much on one day? Is there something that can be moved to another day that doesn’t have much of a load? Be sure to write out every little thing you would like to get done (realistically). Find a spot on the calendar for it so you’re not left scrambling the week of Christmas to finish up.
Avoid buying more treats than you need for gifts. How often do you make or buy gifts that are for other people and then just keep the leftovers? Well stop it! Having those treats around is what will make it easy for you to grab when you’re at your most-stressed. I’m not saying that you need to deprive yourself of your beloved Reese’s Tree. I’m saying, be aware of how much you’re keeping in your own stock when they’re truly meant as gifts.
Workout. This may seem to be a no-brainer, but I had to mention it. Not only will working out combat those Reese’s, but it will also reduce your stress levels. The endorphins will be released and you will be recharged for another few hours at least.
Forget perfection. So Pinterest is great, but dang, I think it’s ruined us to an extent. We all feel like we need to have Pinterest-worthy decorated homes. We all need to make neighbor gifts from scratch. We have to have the most clever Elf on the Shelf. Just Let It GO! (singing in my head right now….) You can’t do it all or you will lose your head. Do what you can do. Do things your way. If that’s buying gifts instead of making or baking them, then so be it. No harm in that!
Concentrate on your Achievements during the holiday. Notice all the things you have done this season! Heck, I get excited when I can finally get the Christmas tree up and decorated. That’s a definite achievement in my book. Remind yourself that you ARE getting things done and that everything will turn out lovely.
Eat normal meals. I know when you’re baking, it may be hard to remember to stop and make yourself a normal healthy meal, but I’m telling you, all those bites of cookie dough you’re sneaking is not going to do anything for your stress-level besides raise it up. Eat meals just like you normally would. Don’t restrict meals earlier in the day because of holiday parties or you’ll end up going nuts at the party. Just try to eat normal. On shopping days, take healthy snacks along with you so you’re not tempted to eat at the food court in the mall.
Last but not least.
EnJOY the Holidays! I know it can be hard at times. But spending quality time with our loved ones is what really matters. Make new memories together. Follow your family traditions. Find joy in the little things you get to do and see this holiday season.
I hope these tips have helped you to be able to relax a bit this holiday season. There is no reason why you should have to end your stressful days buried in a pile of Reese’s Tree wrappers. There are ways to get through the stress and come out on the other side happy and positive.