'Tis the season to be stressed out…but it doesn't have to be. Sure, December is over-scheduled, over-indulgent, and over-stuffed with gatherings, to-do lists and—let's face it—at times a little bit of misery. However, with a few tweaks you can turn the overly hectic holiday season into the magical time of year it was meant to be.
Use these six secrets to quiet your inner-Scrooge and find calm during the often crazy holiday season!
Don't Lose Sight of #1…Be a Little Selfish
Finding the perfect gift, wrapping the perfect gift, planning the party to hand out the perfect gift – this time of year it's easy to lose sight of what's important with a to-do list that stretches its way to the North Pole. Before you worry about planning the perfect everything for everyone else, make it a priority to do something for yourself. In a season where we're supposed to be selfless, it's okay to be a little bit selfish. Book a relaxing massage, do some quiet, reflective meditating, or even get your hair cut, colored, and coiffed before hitting the holiday party circuit. Do whatever is relaxing for you!
Indulge a Little! Don't Stress the Small Bites
Constant concerns over how your jeans will fit after December's indulgences can add a surprising amount of anxiety to what's already a stressful time of year. Free yourself of these spirit-dampening thoughts by practicing mindful eating - and making peace with a couple extra pounds. How, you ask? First, be sure to plan out your meals and small snacks ahead of time. Keep eating healthy a priority and be sure to sit down to actually enjoy your food! Reduce the risk of eating a few too many dancing sugarplums by grabbing a healthy snack before heading to parties. A banana and a tall glass of H2O do wonders to curb the desire to dig into chips and dip! And if you happen to over-indulge at the dessert table? Don't beat yourself up! Tomorrow can always include quality time at the gym or your favorite yoga studio.
Small Potatoes? Put it in Perspective
It's easy to head to the land of meltdowns and panic attacks, but before you worry about what your mother-in-law is going to think or how to get the perfect swirl of icing on your cupcakes ask yourself, will this really matter tomorrow? A few weeks from now you'll be worried more about your New Years resolutions and a less about napkin-folding. Keeping this in mind will help you keep things in perspective… and keep your blood pressure away from its boiling point.
Free Time = Me Time
Remember secret #1 - Be a little selfish? We get it; it's hard to remember (read: feel good about) thinking of yourself when you're thinking about everyone else. The secret is in the scheduling. Pencil in some me-time between gift wrapping and caroling! Schedule a spin class, a weekly manicure, even a facial to undo the harsh effects of winter. Being by yourself and taking just a little time for numero uno will help you clear your mind, restore focus, and center you when you're feeling out of control.
Pinterest: that shiny place where everything looks perfect. But beware…it can also be the unlikely source of your holiday stress. In-between looking for the quintessential table decor and the best biscuit recipe ever, use Pinterest for a little fun and inspiration. Design your ideal getaway – beachside massage, anyone? Find some healthy recipes to take you into the New Year. Look for fun, easy workouts you can do at home to blow off some seasonal steam. It might just be the little push you need to re-center yourself and calm your holiday-fried mind. After all, if you let your brain be all-holidays-all-the-time throughout December, you'll wake up with a hangover in January!
Easy Button, Please!
At the end of the day remember: there is no such thing as perfect. Don't kill yourself trying to make everything match the vision in your head; instead, simplify your tasks. Can't master that icing swirl after all? There are bakeries for that. The same goes for setting unrealistic expectations of your time. In July you had all the time in the world for two-hour workouts and Sunday meal planning, but right now you don't… and that is okay! Aim to take small, manageable steps that help you maintain wellness every day, and save the big health leaps for January (and beyond!). Gifting yourself (and a couple girlfriends?) a spa treatment or two might be a great way to start!
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