It's not like it's a big surprise. It happens every year. The holidays come, and along with the holidays we expect to stress out. But this little plan of mine will have you whistling through the holidays. No worries, mon. I'll start my program with the assumption that all of the shopping for presents has not been finished yet, so let's start there.
No. 1: Gift Cards
Ask the remaining folks on your list (hopefully it's not an extensive one) where they like shopping if you don't already know. Then, get them gift cards to these stores. CVS actually carries gift cards for multiple stores, from iTunes to movie theaters. A whole lot of running around just got cut down to 20 minutes. Trust me, you may think that a Starbucks gift card seems impersonal, but they will think of you each time they use that card at Starbucks, and they will appreciate you. Look at how a gift card just got really personal.
No. 2: The Massage Sandwich
Schedule an hour at the beginning of the holiday season for a massage, then another for the end of the holidays. Ideally, the first massage should be done once all the present shopping has been done, so the next day you can just relax and let go on a massage table. Deep tissue massage is the favored one here. When the holidays are through, make sure you get that other massage. Best. Thing. Ever.
No. 3: Body Fuel
To keep your body running in top-notch condition during the high-intensity holiday season, you've got to fuel it with good and healthy food. This means drinking an appropriate amount of water to keep yourself hydrated (which is very easy to forget to do during the winter months); make sure that your foods are nutrient rich; and make sure that you’re getting your vitamins. Now, I’m not saying not to indulge in those frosted cookies. That would be crazy talk.
No. 4: Muscle
During the holidays your body will be exerting more than you realize, so keeping it in good functioning form is just as important in maintaining your energy levels. Hitting the gym for a workout is something that you should definitely plug into your day. What is one of the best ways to combat stress? You got it ... exercise. Plus, you will relish this time alone that you’re dedicating to taking care of you.
No. 5: Sleep
You just can’t skip the sleep. The best way to maintain your vibrant spirit during the holidays is to make sure that you're depositing a solid 7 hours nightly into that sleep bank. You won't be dependent on coffee or other forms of caffeine to keep you going, because you've already started your day with the best foundation: being well-rested.
No. 6: Get Help
If you can make it through the holidays without being the host/hostess -- do it. If not, have your guests help by making each responsible for a side dish or a dessert. Pretty much every holiday meal has its staple items. Start there, then think of what else you need; write it down; then send out a blast e-mail to your guests. Don’t be shy about assigning dishes to different people. You can leave the loophole that if they don't want to make the assigned dish, then talk amongst themselves (really important) to trade with someone else on the list -- then you’re out of the negotiating mix. Then gracefully hit send. You have delegated and it's now time to trust. The food will get there. And everyone will feel good because they have helped in some preparation, and they don’t have to feel guilt for a host who has slaved away all day. It’s a win-win.
No. 7: Step Outside
If at any time you’re feeling overwhelmed, then step outside and take five minutes. Taking some time to just breathe in nature does wonders in regenerating our energy and spirit. It's amazing what only five minutes of just being outside will do. If you don’t feel like going all the way outside, then open a window and let the blast of energizing cool and fresh air touch your face. Just for five minutes. Try it!
No. 8: Whistle While You Work
OK, maybe don't actually whistle, but put on some holiday music. You’ll be surprised at how many tunes you're able to happily sing along to. You may even find that you start to shake your tail feather. Say you’re chopping veggies in the kitchen -- it's 10 times more fun with a little holiday dance party.
No. 9: Don't Whine, Just Wine
The objective here isn’t to drink, just sip. Have a glass of your favorite red or white, and sip on it as you prepare your holiday meal, wrap your holiday presents or do any holiday finishing chores that need to be done. Don't forget the holiday jams! (See previous tip!)
No. 10: Be Present
The real gift of the holiday season is the time that we get to spend with our friends and family, right? These are the real gifts that the holidays provide us. So why spend them stressing out? Try to take everything else out of your brain, and be 'present' in the company of friends and family. Love and laughter do amazing things for your health.
I hope your holidays are full of love laughter and loud chatter!