How to Not Let the Craziness of the Holidays Suck the Fun Out of It All

Holiday parties, hosting family, holiday baking, food shopping, gift shopping, kids’ sugar highs at school parties and decorating — oh my!

We hear you. You’re dealing with a lot this time of year and the last thing you want to do is be the Grinch who ruined the holiday season.

How do you not get burned out during the holiday marathon? Here are some easy tips to keep your energy levels high enough to match that holiday spirit!

Healthy Choices for Boosting Energy

  • Sleep: That simple five-letter word … you know you need it! Sometimes laundry or grocery shopping has to wait. Dig out what’s in the back of your closet and wear that. Scour the freezer and pantry and eat what needs to be eaten anyways. Then get to bed and sleep peacefully knowing you didn’t waste money on those extra purchases. Get more tips here on catching the zzz’s you need.
  • Balance: Eat balanced meals and snack right to stay energized. Remember to get enough water, fiber from fruit, veggies and whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fat to keep you satisfied and going strong. When you’re craving those holiday comfort food favorites, work in some healthy substitutions or enjoy in smaller amounts.
  • Exercise: Plan your workouts and mark them on your calendar. Don’t beat yourself up if you have to skip one, but do find 30 minutes for a brisk walk to re-energize you. Home workouts, like pushups against stairs (easier on your shoulders and back) and wall sits, are a good way to squeeze a workout in when you’re short on time. Getting a good, quick sweat in will boost endorphins, those feel-good hormones! Here are some fun ways to get moving with the family.

Meal Time

  • Make a list: Stay organized when it comes to eating and shopping by planning meals for the week and hitting the store with your trusty list. Bonus tip: Make extra servings of your favorite dishes to use as leftovers. Shop at off-peak times when possible to avoid the crowds and get the choice items.
  • Share the workload: Delegate as much as you can. Send your spouse to the grocery store, and have your kids peel the potatoes or wash veggies. Let the kids know your holiday expectations up front so you don’t find yourself yelling at them!
  • Holiday tunes: Don’t forget the music! Keep festive music on while you’re preparing food and washing dishes. The jolly sounds will keep you in the holiday spirit and remind you why you are working so hard!

Parties

  • Repeat: Make the same dish for each new party to save time and mental energy. Choose something that’s easy to combine like bean and veggie salads that don’t require chopping or washing. For example, black beans mixed with defrosted frozen corn, salsa and cilantro for a zesty salad, prewashed Brussels sprouts broiled with olive oil and Canadian bacon, or canned marinated artichokes with fresh mozzarella and baby tomatoes threaded on a toothpick or skewer.
  • Do something new: Start one new holiday tradition each year, like decorating a life-size construction paper snowman on the wall (maybe with holiday cards!). Just keep it out of high-traffic areas so the flow of the party isn’t disrupted. This activity will bring the kids together for quality family bonding time.

Timesavers

  • Shop online: Shop online for gifts to save time. There are some gifts that do not need to be purchased in stores. Save time, skip the lines and just buy online!
  • Bag up the gift bags: Keep gift bags on hand in case you don’t have time to wrap your gifts in paper. Store extras in a large paper grocery bag. You can have extra bags for each holiday, birthday or occasion to save you time down the road. Stick-on ribbons are great timesavers too.
  • Mark your calendar: Save yourself the stress of forgetting about an event until the last minute. Instead, keep a list on the fridge to stay on top of all your events and schedule so nothing gets missed. Buy a cute notepad for the holiday season so you’ll be more motivated to use it.

Look, we know it’s a stressful season, but try embracing the madness! Even just a few of the tips above can improve your mood, and that can go a long way with the family.

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