Creating A Stress Free Holiday

The holidays are among us – a time of year that’s known for its busy nature that can lead to quite the load of stress.  After all, you likely have several invitations to gatherings collecting on your counter, a long list of people you need to send holiday cards to, and the daunting task of braving the shopping mall crowds to find the gifts for your loved ones.  Perhaps you also have to plan a menu to feed everyone over the holidays. All of this, on top of your normal every day life.  It can be overwhelming to say the least.

I wanted to share with you some of my favourite ways to navigate this busy, stressful time of year and make this season a lot more enjoyable, less stressful and a time you will remember with fond memories.

These secret weapons of mine include…

Put forth great effort to be present.  It can be difficult, I understand.  It’s almost a reflex to pick up our phones and scroll through Facebook or our email when we have a free moment – do you do the same?  One way I like to dodge this is to leave my electronics in another room.  Don’t even allow yourself the temptation to pick up your phone and disengage from communicating with your loved ones.  When I’m feeling particularly distracted, what really helps ground me is focusing on my senses.  What do I smell?  What do I hear?  What do I feel?  Stopping and thinking through what’s going on around you at that very moment really brings you into the present moment unlike anything else.  It’s a good tool to use to dial in and be present – and is a great tool to use year-round, not just during the holidays!

Give up those expectations.  A lot of the stress we put on ourselves this season lies in the notion that we expect things to be perfect.  That’d be great, of course – but putting your entire extended family in one house is bound to have something go awry.  Therefore, dropping the expectations of perfection will allow you to be prepared for when something may spring up.  There is joy to be found in each situation, so even when things don’t go exactly as planned – spend your energy finding gratitude in your circumstances and enjoying as much of your time as you possibly can.

Find time to move.  It’s incredibly important to keep movement in your schedule, no matter how busy you may feel.  Even if it’s just a brisk walk after lunch or dinner – make it a habit to bundle up in your favourite scarf and winter coat to go for a walk alone to clear your mind, or with someone you enjoy being around.  Be sure that you are getting your time outside in nature, breathing in fresh air, not only will this clear your mind but it will also help burn off some of those calories.

Plan, plan, plan.  One of the best things you can do is make a schedule. I am personally the master of lists. Everything from which chores need to be done to grocery lists and guest lists. You name and I’ve made a list for it. The best thing about lists is that once you’ve completed a task you can cross it off! So satisfying.

Stock up. Another thing I try to manage during the holidays is to have a full fridge and pantry so I can easily whip up something to eat should unexpected guests arrive or if my kids happen to have some friends over.  Or, I’ll sometimes make double batches of cookies, soups or other dishes that freeze well. I am always glad I made a double batch when I end up pulling them out of the freezer.

What are some of your favourite ways to manage the holidays?  Do you have any tips or tricks to share? If so, let us know!

Looking for some tips for the vegetarian at your holiday table this year? You’ll find my Collection of Vegetarian Holiday Recipes here.  Or if you are looking for a January re-boot join my Fit and Healthy Jumpstart Program. You can find those details here.




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    Great tips, Karen. Stocking up is a great one. That way you know there are always some healthy options to turn.

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