The Christmas Season is upon us and most of us are already stressing out.....and the reason for that is very simple! It is because we have no plan of what we are doing! I know that a lot of people think that it is not necessary to plan your weeks in detail (or at all!), but I am a big believer in the saying "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail"....it is as simple as this! So I am excited to share with you all my tricks and tips on how to ensure that you have not only a stress-free, but also healthy Christmas Holidays!
The number 1 thing that you can do in order to have stress free holiday season is to plan each day of the weeks ahead of Christmas. For example, take a few minutes to plan when you are going to:
- do Christmas shopping
- visit any Christmas markets and attractions
- wrap the presents
- write and send out the cards
In the most recent episode of The Slowolution Podcast, I am sharing in detail all my tricks and tips on how to go about planning!
Because this is my favorite time of the year.....especially now that I am a mom, I want to make sure that I enjoy and soak in every minute, rather than stressing out! This is something I am very passionate about, and I want to make sure that everyone is enjoying the Holidays season! So, in order to help you have stress free and healthy holiday season, I have created free downloadable templates that you can use (see below the different sections). This is something that I have been using for years, and I am super excited to share them with you this year.....
Let's take presents for example! I know that most of us are really stressing out about presents. We have all had the situations we were running around in the last second to get the final presents. Well, all these could be done in a much more relaxed manner, and here is how:
- make a list of the people that you need to get presents for as early as possible prior Christmas
- set an overall budget for presents, and then break it down per person (and of course stick to it!)
- once you know the budget per person, start writing down ideas for each person. Here make sure you take into consideration a conversation with each person where he/she has mentioned something he/she wants, his/hers hobbies and interests, etc
- once you know what you want to get each person, check if you can get it online - will be delivered to your door, so you save some shopping time
- your goal should be to have all the presents ready a week prior to Christmas
This free downloadable template saves me every single year - give it a try, and I promise you won't regret it.
Hosting holiday dinner - what to do?
OK, for most of us the madness continues throughout the actual Christmas holidays, especially if you are hosting a dinner or cocktail party. So how do you stay stress-free? Here are my top seven tricks for being a stress free and relaxed host, that simply enjoys the occasion and the guests:
- decide on the menu about a week or ten days prior to the actual occasion. Meanwhile there are a lot of vegetarians or vegans out there, so my suggestion is to check with your guests. Also an option that I always go for, is to have a only veggie dish - this way in case someone is vegetarian or vegan they can still enjoy the meal
- about two weeks prior check and make sure that you have the needed furniture - table is big enough for so and so many guests; there are enough chairs; you have enough plates, wine glasses, silver ware, etc. This will give you enough time to organize and get whatever you might be missing, so you don't have to stress out on the actual day about it
- make sure that you have all the presents wrapped and cards written two days prior. Also, make sure that you take advantage of wrapping service when you buy a present - this will save you a lot of time at home
- make a list of the groceries you will need 5 days to a week before the occasion, and get whatever possible two days prior.......for the ingredients that need to be fresh you can make a quick run to the grocery store the day before. I will defiantly not leave the whole grocery for the day prior or the actual day....usually there are a lot of people, and the lines are long, which results in more unnecessary stress
- try to prepare as much as possible the prior day - see whether you can prepare some of the ingredients / food (e.g. prepare rice, or cut the veggies, etc); if possible decorate the table the evening before; if possible arrange all the presents under the tree the day before
- the days prior the occasion, make sure you take 30 to 45min time for self care each day - whether it will be for a workout, getting a massage, meditating, journaling, reading a book, taking a bath......whatever it might be, make sure that you take some time each day for you. On the day of the actual occasion, make sure that you are well rested, go out for a run or a walk, simply take some time to take care of yourself
- make sure you have a time plan for the actual day of the occasion - how long do you need for each meal, what needs to be done, when do you need to start in order for all to be ready when the guests arrive. Every year we host a family dinner on Christmas Eve, and every year a few days prior we make a (cooking) time plan......it works great!
Make sure that you use these free downloadable templates to ensure that you are a relaxed (and in control) type of host!
What about staying on track with healthy nutrition during the Christmas season?
OK, and now that we are completely stress-free, let's talk about how you can stay on track with your healthy lifestyle in the madness around the Christmas holidays.......I mean as we all know, as nice as the Christmas season is, it can also get a bit out of control in terms of nutrition if you are not careful. So, here are my top 10 tips of keeping it healthy during this wonderful season:
- start off by making sure that every time you run to the grocery store, you get only healthy food and snacks - including a lot of green veggies, lean proteins, fruits, quinoa, legumes, nuts and seeds. This will allow you to focus on preparing healthy meals, and enjoying healthy snacks
- make sure you start your day with a glass of water (ideally with some fresh ginger and lemon juice), and make sure that you stay hydrated throughout the day. A lot of times we don't realize that although we feel hungry, we are actually thirsty.....so before going for a snack, drink a glass of water first
- knowing your schedule, make sure that you plan your meals for the week, including snacks. This will help you avoid making any unhealthy choices to a minimum
- based on the meal plan that you have made for that week, make sure that you also take some time on Sunday to meal prep. The great advantage here is that this way you avoid making any unhealthy meal choices simply because you are hungry and have no time to prepare a healthy meal
- during the holiday seasons, there are all kinds of sweet and unhealthy treats in the office. In order to avoid these, make sure that you always bring along a healthy morning and afternoon snack, like fruit for the morning, and some nuts or veggies for the afternoon. You might even want to bring your lunch along with you whenever possible
- I know this one can be really difficult during the Christmas season, but try to eat a home cooked dinner (from scratch) two to three times a week. This will give you the opportunity to bring a bit more balance, and still fill your body with healthy nutrition
- whenever you eat out and you have the possibility to order, make sure you go for a healthy meal, including green veggies and lean protein
- when you are going to an evening cocktail party, make sure that you have a healthy snack or meal (that you have brought along) prior to going to the party. This way, you won't feel hungry and you won't feel the need to go for all the unhealthy snacks
- when you are at a cocktail party, make sure that you start with a non-alcoholic (preferably still water) drink, followed by an alcohol drink. Make sure that after each alcohol drink, you have a glass of still water
- when you are at a cocktail party or dinner and you feel like going for an unhealthy meal, or dessert.....simply go for it and enjoy every bite without any bad conscious. Just make sure that you get back on track the following day
Here again, it all comes down to planning and managing your time accordingly. Be prepared, and avoid any situations where you are starving but don't have anything healthy at home. And to do that, make sure you use this free downloadable template, which will help you plan your meals, based on which you can create your grocery list
Is there time to workout?
December is time of the year where it is difficult to stay on track with anything healthy, let alone find the time for a regular workout! Not only is it cold, grey and the day is getting shorter, but we are also booked out with all kinds of Christmas celebrations. Despite all these, working out should be a priority because there are so many advantages.......such as energy boost, you sleep better, you feel happier and less stressed out, and the list goes on and on. Here are my top five tricks on how to include a workout on a daily basis:
- just like with anything else, it is super important to plan your workouts. Take 15 minutes on Sunday to plan your workouts for the week ahead according to your schedule. The trick is to make sure that you are realistic, and don't expect too much. There will be days where you won't have the time for a workout, and this is ok! Just make sure that this doesn't turn into a routine!
- get an accountability or workout partner, or join a FB group that will hold you accountable! This helps you get motivated, and stay on track
even if you have only 15 or 30 minutes - make the time to do a quick workout, or a walk. You will feel much more energized and balanced........not to mention that your body and mind will thank you:)
- whenever you have the chance be active - for example, walk instead of car or transportation, take the stairs instead of the elevator, do some stretching - do it. It might not feel like a workout, but you are giving your body the possibility to stay active.....and at the end of the day, all these small or insignificant activities add up
- make sure that during stressful time, you choose workouts that you like and enjoy. This way it will be much easier to motivate yourself! Don't push yourself to go running if you hate it......it will only stress you out additionally!
- I know that it is not always easy, that's why if you can't stick to your plan on a particular day just accept it and look forward to your workout the following day.
The bottom line is that in order to have a stress free Christmas season, it all comes down to taking the time to properly plan your days / weeks ahead of and during the Christmas holidays! I personally use The Slowolution Planner to plan not only my days and weeks ahead, but also to prioritize my health by setting goals, and tracking different aspects of a healthy lifestyle.
But in order to prioritize your health along the whole process, make sure you plan some time for self care every single day.........make an appointment with yourself, for yourself! And treated just like any other important appointment you may have! It is very easy to get in an autopilot right before the Holidays, but this is time that we should enjoy......and a few minutes of self care every single day should be a priority on your to do list!
Wish you a lovely Christmas Holidays, and I hope that you find the templates helpful!