Confession time friends. Y’all know I was on Whole30 this month, and I ended before Thanksgiving. I had great results again, felt better, slept better and lost 10 pounds. But… then Thanksgiving break came, and we played and ate, and I slacked on my usual meal prep, and well, this morning the scale wasn’t kind to me. I have gained some of the weight back, and I feel all around crappy. I have been moody, bloated, tired, having tummy issues and feeling run down. Booo, no thank you. I am back at it this morning, and I will be doing a Whole35 and breaking on New Year’s Eve!
It got me to thinking about the holidays and how exhausting they can be. How many times I’ve snapped at my husband, gone through holidays in a food coma or sleepy haze, how our family has gotten sick, or I just don’t enjoy our time together fully. That’s not what I want this season. Do you want to be present this Christmas? So do I, and we just can’t be if we’re not taking care of ourselves and our families. Here’s how to feel your best so you and your family can fully enjoy the holidays!
Keep Your Routines
This is my number one tip for surviving the holidays feeling your best; keep your regular routines. If you exercise, then continue to do so. If you drink a gallon of water a day, take vitamins and sleep 8 hours at night, keep doing that! Of course, you will have a few late nights with holiday parties or have to skip a workout to go Christmas shopping without the kids but as a general rule, stay the course friends.
If you workout, stay hydrated, sleep, read, have quiet time or take supplements on a regular basis, it is because your body and mental health need to. Don’t stop taking care of yourself when you need to the most. Don’t neglect your mental or physical demands during what can be one of the busiest and most stressful times of the year. If anything, do them more. Gear up for the season by taking even better care of yourself.
Schedule Down Time
Scheduling downtime is a perfect way to make sure you are taking care of yourself and your family over the holidays. I do a Sunday night plan and prep to get ready for my week. I look over the past week to see how it went, what worked and what didn’t and make my to-do lists. If I was tired all week, for example, then I need to adjust something to make sure I am getting enough sleep. If I didn’t exercise, then I probably need to schedule some workouts or call a workout buddy to ensure they happen this week. This process helps me to continue meeting my goals. This may sound cheesy, but this helps me to live my best life and keep our families lives, our home and our schedule calm, organized and peaceful. It keeps me accountable to myself and our family on track.
I also look at what our family has planned for the week ahead and schedule enough downtime for us. Everyone, parents and children alike need a chance to relax and spend time together at home. Especially if life and your calendar are busy, like during Christmas. I make sure we have time together at home as a family every weekend, that I have at least one day a week at home clear while the kids are at school and that the kids and I have at least two afternoons after school without any plans. During the holidays it’s easy to just pack your calendar with events, parties, and errands, but that will run you and your immune systems down, shorten your tempers and create more stress. Do yourself and your family a favor and schedule intentional breaks in your calendar.
Probably my worst habit to do during any busy time of our lives is to cut out having to make dinner. It’s time-consuming, you have to have groceries, and clean up afterward. Honestly, deciding on and making dinner when I have other things to do is just not my favorite and it’s a lot easier just to order pizza, pick up take-out or feed all the people cereal. Y’all know about our picnic dinners. But eating healthy, clean foods that I make at home is better for our family and keeps us all feeling our best and our immune systems strong which is extremely important during the holidays and the winter sick season too. I fight the urge to use fast food by having my own fast food on hand.
When you make dinner, double the recipe. I make double batches of everything, then freeze half, so we have meals stocked and ready. I make soups, chili and casseroles and when we do need a pizza night, I buy healthier versions. My favorite frozen pizzas are Newman’s Own or Udi’s Gluten Free Pizza; these are the healthiest versions of pizza that I have found that still taste good without having to make your own, plus it’s a lot cheaper than delivery. Make your life easier with your own shortcuts for dinner without compromising your family’s health.
Plan For Sleep
Not only do you need to plan breaks for your family but you also need to plan for sleep! Sleep is vital for your whole family, to keep your immune systems running, prevent tantrums, stay healthy and to be happy. Make sure you don’t overbook your family with too many late nights, you will have to say no to some things this season to keep your sanity.
Let your children stay up late over the break occasionally, not every night. Pick a couple of days for your family to sleep in during the holidays but not every day of Christmas vacation. Getting off schedule for the entire Christmas holiday will do more damage than good and torture you when it’s time to go back to real life. So stay up late at a Christmas party a couple of nights and get those people to bed on time the rest of the season. Mamas, you need the evenings to yourself or to spend with your man or with your wine! ?
Speaking of your man, go on a date night! I tend to cancel our date nights during the holidays. We are so busy and already spending so much money, it seems frivolous to pay a sitter for date night, especially when I already paid her so I could Christmas shop! But that is the furthest thing from the truth. You need the break, your hubby needs some alone time with you, and your marriage will thank you for the sacrifice later, I promise.
So do a cheaper night out or swap babysitting duties with another family, just keep your date night! Connecting with your spouse is always important so it should be at the top of your list all year round but when money gets tight, stress is high, or life is busy, you need that alone time together even more. Stay connected, be present and intentional and set the tone for your family starting with your marriage.
These five practices will keep you sane through Christmas and allow your family to enjoy the holidays. Taking care of yourself, your marriage and your calendar will be the reason you enjoy the season. Being intentional with your time, your routines and your health through the holidays will be how you thrive instead of just surviving them. Being conscious of these things will be the reason you won’t suffer the holiday hangover, have more weight to lose, an illness to fight off or have to struggle to get back to normal life once the holidays are over. Take care of yourself and your family and enjoy your holidays and feel your very best all season long and into the new year!