It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just a week away. The holiday season is almost upon us and with that comes a lot of shopping, cooking, decorating, entertaining and seemingly never ending to do lists. Before you let the stress pile up, check out our tips below to ensure that this truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
Top 10 Tips for Staying Sane this Holiday Season
- Be practical and realistic. Be honest with yourself about what you can accomplish and how much you can afford. If you aren’t a crafter, then planning to make your kids’ holiday teachers’ gifts may just be setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. If you are hosting a dinner and cooking isn’t your thing, cater. It’s not about what you perceive as the “right” or “wrong” way to do the holidays, it’s all about what works for you.
- Decide on your non-negotiables and stick to them. These are entirely up to you. Maybe it’s getting yourself to barre class even when your kids are off from school (hooray for Kids Club!) or it could be your weekly wine date with your girlfriends. Perhaps it’s your kids’ bed times or the amount of money you want to spend on their gifts this year. Whatever your non-negotiables are, let them be known to your family, spouse and whoever else may be impacted by them and whose support you need.
- Set your schedule in advance. Map out your parties, dinners and events so that you know when you are tied up and when you are free to check things off your to do list. Make sure you have time set aside for cleaning, cooking, or whatever it is you need to get done. Commit to your schedule as much as possible, even if that means saying no to an invitation for yet another last minute event that you are dreading going to.
- Maintain healthy habits no matter how hectic things become. Holiday parties are inevitable, so too are cocktails, desserts and foods full of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. You could chalk it up to a complete loss, and declare you will start your diet in the New Year, or you can ensure you are getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, moving your body everyday, and eating real, unprocessed foods when given a choice.
- Make a list and check it twice. No, Santa isn’t the only one! Instead of roaming around the stores in search of the perfect gift, take some time prior to heading out to make a list of each person you need to buy for, about how much you plan to spend, what specifically you want to buy, and where the best place is to purchase.
- Shop online. Whether it’s Amazon, Nordstrom, Target or J.Crew, most stores offer discounts online in addition to free shipping. Shopping online can save you time and money as you are less likely to make impulse purchases like you would when standing in line at a store, and you can compare prices quickly online before deciding where to buy. Not to mention, you don’t need to worry about the hassle of parking, crowds, long lines and sold out merchandise when you arrive in the stores.
- Enjoy old traditions or start new ones. Whether it’s heading down to check out The Comcast Holiday Spectacular or watching your favorite holiday movie while sitting by the fire and enjoying some hot chocolate, there is so much to see and do during the holiday season. Many events are even free. Make the most of this time while it lasts!
- Practice gratitude. Thanksgiving is a great time to acknowledge what you are grateful for. To maintain perspective and a positive attitude through out the holiday season, continue with that theme. Every morning or evening, make a list of 3 things or people that are you are grateful for in your life.
- Ask for help when you need it. It can be so simple in theory but so hard to execute. If you need help, ask. You may be surprised by just how generous people can be. The worst that can happen is someone says no. You are no worse off than before you asked.
- When all else fails, breathe. Never underestimate the power of a few deep breaths to reduce your stress, shift your perspective and help you find calm amidst the chaos. Breathe in 4 counts, hold for 2 counts, and then breathe out for 4 counts.
Most of all, enjoy this special time with your family and friends. Before you know it, the holidays will be over and the decoration boxes will be packed up in the attic. We wish all of you the happiest of holidays and we hope to see you at the barre for some much needed stress relief during this chaotic, yet exciting time. Feel free to share with us in the comments your own tips for staying sane during the holiday season.