7 Ways to Stay Cheerful over the Holidays!

Christmas Bunny

Let’s face it, the holidays can pretty much keep us hopping around like the Easter Bunny!

From making sure holiday treats and snacks are prepared with love, to festively decorating your home making it all warm & cozy for guests. Are the “stockings all hung by the chimney with care”?  It can be a stressful (and often over-indulgent) time of the year!

…and by the end of it, we are worn out… sometimes so much so that we don’t really remember if we actually enjoyed it!

Here are 7 tips to help you keep that Joyeaux Noel feeling going strong!

1. Just breathe.

Hectic shopping malls, looking for parking spots, and emotionally challenging friends or family members can increase our stress and anxiety.

The next time you feel your levels rising, stop and practice conscious breathing. Take a couple deep belly relaxing breaths by inhaling through your nose to the count of 4, holding that breath for 5-7 seconds and then exhaling through your mouth with a big sigh for a count of 6-8 seconds. Ready? Let’s do it together.

Do this as much and as often as needed because deep breathing will calm your mind, decrease your rising blood pressure and help to cope with the seemingly overwhelming situations.  Each time you do it will come easier and easier until it becomes second nature.

2.  Take a bit of time for you.

More often than not we’re so worried and want to make sure everything is perfect for everyone else over the holidays we forget our ourselves.

We’ll be no good to anyone if we run ourselves ragged to the point of exhaustion and end up getting sick. Yes, those cold bugs know just when to take hold – and it’s when we don’t slow down and take care of ourselves.

I’m not suggesting hop on a plane (well maybe if you’re lucky!) but take 10-20 min out of your busy daily schedule to do something you love.

Read a good book, pamper your sore feet with a pedicure, take a relaxing bath …whatever gives you some peace and slows you down…because you are worth it!

3. Drink…a lot.

Ha! not what you think!

Holiday cocktails and parties are the themes of the season and yes, we should enjoy ourselves but just remember to stay hydrated with plenty of water, fresh vegetable juices and herbal teas.

Plan your evenings. For every cocktail, drink a glass of water. Your head thank you in the morning.

Coconut water is also helpful for replacing those electrolytes if you do drink bit more than you should.

Here’s an energizing (and yummy) smoothie to have on those party days.  Try one before the party and when you get home. The greens will also assist your liver in detoxifying those bevvies faster.

4. Plan a memorable activity.  

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but Christmas seems to become more and more about the season’s must-have toys, newest technology, can’t live without kitchen gadgets…you get the drill…stuff and more stuff.  

It’s been well documented that happiness increases with experiences.

This year why not cut back on the gifts and plan a family or friends event or outing.

Revisit a family tradition (singing carols!) or make a new one.  ..and bonus, it’s easier on the pocketbook and credit cards too!

But if you still like to have a small gift or stocking stuffer why not try some DIY homemade edible gifts?  These are perfect for those friends & family who have it all.

5. Be one with your inner kitty and take a cat nap.

There is no harm in having a short 20 min nap to rest your mind and relax. This isn’t meant to be a long, deep sleep just a power nap.

Besides chilling, short, light naps restore alertness, cognitive function and memory, leaving you feeling refreshed and ready to take on the dreaded gift wrapping or to purchase that last minute gift.

Naps also help you think clearly and improve your mood (your loved ones can thank me later). Remember how we used to nap in kindergarten?  ah, to be a child again or a kitten?!kittens napping

6. Sneak in a quick workout.  

Don’t abandon your exercise routines over the holidays, sure something has to give, but still aim for at least a 15 min brisk walk of fresh air, a 30 min run on the treadmill or a 30 min yoga session.  

Getting your blood pumping will not only lift your mood but keep you sane. Not to mention our the lymphatic system (a very important part of your immune system) relies on the movement of muscles.

There are a number of free (or low-cost) apps out there with guided workouts if you need some online motivation.  Down Dog app is one I recently found for my fellow yogis out there. 

7. Sometimes simple is better.  

Do you find that all those rich, sugary, indulgent holiday meals and treats are sometimes just too much (after we eat them of course)?  

We may not be able to stray away from that party table full of delectable goodies but we can control what we cook in our kitchen. 

Be realistic about how much time you’ll have to create elaborate, labour-intensive meals. Instead, opt for simple recipes with wow factor. Batch soups or slow cooker meals will save you time so you can wrap those gifts!  Check out my recipe section (recipes added frequently) for added inspiration.

How will you take care of yourself this busy holiday season?  Comments below are welcomed!  Merry Christmas my friends…and slow down!

busy holiday