I literally cannot believe we’re already towards the end of November?! It feels like just yesterday I was laying on the beach in 90 degree weather and now here I am, indulging in Thanksgiving leftovers and jotting down Christmas gift ideas!? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got lots of holiday season love. I love the lights, the first snow fall (as long as I’m watching it from next to the fire place hehe) and the family festivities. But man, the holidays just aren’t the same as an adult, am I right? Instead of mailing off our list of Christmas wishes to the North Pole and anxiously waiting for Santa Clause to shimmy his way down the chimney and make our wishes a reality, we place orders on Amazon and anxiously await the confirmation that our presents will be delivered to loved ones by Christmas Eve! Is it just me, or is there a strange, dual energy that sweeps into our lives as the holidays approach? Along with the overwhelming rush of Christmas shopping madness, there’s still the incredible joy and warmth of spending time with friends, family and…FOOD! Let this post serve as a reminder that throughout all the excitement, it’s still important to slow down, recharge and keep ourselves feeling healthy! How can we do that exactly? Staying organized & grounded, honoring our bodies and lightening up on dietary boundaries are all key roles in keeping this time of year less chaotic and more enjoyable.
Use these tips to ensure a happy, healthy & stress-free holiday season!
1. Mindfully manage your schedule—
This might be easier said than done during the holidays, especially when family pulls you in every which-way direction. But creating (and sticking to) a reasonable schedule has significantly reduced my stress level this time of year. My parents were recently divorced, so now each holiday season from Thanksgiving til’ New Years, Mike and I have to balance my dads house, mom’s house and his family, too. It's truly too much bouncing around for one day. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, mindfully create a holiday schedule that allows you to spend time with everybody and not exhaust yourself. Plan to spend Christmas Eve with one side of the family, and Christmas day with the other. Better yet, if it’s possible for you, bring everybody together for one big holiday family celebration!
2. Make to-do lists—
Before the holidays are in FULL swing, get yourself organized! Pencil into your calendar any parties you’ll be attending, and make a list of the people you’d like to shop for. Personal experience has taught me that it is MUCH more productive to have a plan before diving into the madness that is Christmas shopping. Walking into the mall without at least an idea of what you’re looking for could leave anybody feeling flustered and overwhelmed. Not to mention all of the distractions we face as we’re offered yummy holiday treats along the way. So trust me on this one and make those lists!
3. Keep yourself grounded—
Tis the season of giving! And we all love to watch the faces of loved ones light up as they tear open perfectly wrapped presents. But in between gift wrapping and cooking up festive dishes in the kitchen, it’s important to prioritize the things that keep you grounded. I know that a lot of my own Christmas shopping and prepping gets done after work during the week, so I make it a point to wake up early and squeeze in a yoga class or meditation before I dive into the rest of my day. It keeps me calm, centered & focused.
4. Don’t forget the R & R—
Take a day off this season. You don’t need to spend the day at a spa, but do spend it taking care of yourself. Sleep in, throw on a face mask, enjoy your coffee slowly & mindfully, take a lavender infused bubble bath (my FAVORITE), or maybe just binge watch your favorite tv show on Netflix. Whatever feels good for you, know that taking the time to relax will keep your stress-level generally lower and keep the holidays feeling happy rather than overwhelming. Set aside this time to reset and thank yourself later.
5. Cut yourself some (sweet) slack—
After the holidays are said and done, you may be happy that you stuck to your healthiest eating habits, even when the temptations for second or third helpings crept in. Eat mindfully, in a way that will keep your body happy, but don’t deprive yourself of the desserts! This time of the year, it’s all about balance, baby. Eat the cookies, eat the cakes, lick the spoon when you’re whipping up those vegan brownies in the kitchen, and most importantly, ENJOY them all without the feelings of shame or guilt. As long as you still work in those greens and veggies and still get your body moving, don’t even think about feeling bad about your food choices!
6. If you have dietary restrictions, volunteer to bring something!—
One of the most tricky parts of becoming vegan was the holiday family parties. Even though our family loves to support us, it took some time for them to fully understand what a “vegan” diet actually entails. We’ve been offered meals made with eggs or milk, and while their heart is always in the right place, my tummy will not be if I suddenly fill it with such dairy products. We started to work our way around this by volunteering to bring yummy dishes of our own. Not only is there guaranteed something for the fiance’ and I to eat, but it’s also an opportunity for others to try something new! It gives us a reason to spread the vegan wealth, hehe. Plus, people do appreciate having some veggies on their plate that aren’t covered in cheese or cream. A simple salad or veg mix could balance out an otherwise super heavy plate!
At the end of the day, the best piece of advice I can give you is not to sweat the little things. Forget the idea of that “perfect” gift. The perfect dinner. The perfect anything, really. The holidays are a time to come together with friends and family, to celebrate and feel the love. To bring more joy into the world, not more stress! So break out the decorations, crank up the Christmas tunes and surround yourself with your most favorite people! It’s the most wonderful time of the year— it’s time we believe that and start acting like it! And of course remember that the best “present” is simply your presence!
Wishing you the happiest of holidays, friends!