Dec 13, 2015

Healthy Holiday Hacks: Top 5 Tips to Handle Never-Ending Days + A GIVEAWAY!

I love the holidays! Everything sparkles, people smile more, and there's a general sense of happiness, community, and togetherness that is (sadly) not as pronounced during the rest of the year.

Also, decorations!

I know people like to whine about Christmas decorations going up too early and Christmas carols playing on repeat everywhere from the day after Thanksgiving on, but I love all of that!

What I don't love is the hectic that can sometimes be associated with the holidays. No one likes feeling stressed out, but sometimes the happiness of the holiday season can be tainted by hectic back-to-back scheduling.

Read on for my top five tips to survive those inevitable never-ending days without turning into a stressed-out Grinch!
1) Write it down.

Everyone is different, but a lot of what contributes to the stress of busy days for me is worrying that I'm forgetting something. By writing down everything you need to do the day before, or even the morning of, a crazy day, you have one less thing to worry about. 

Just keep your list on hand and you can ease your preoccupied mind with it every time you get that panicky feeling that you're forgetting something. Being organized saves us from dropping the ball when things get hectic!

2) Plan ahead.

If you know you are going to have a crazy day coming up, plan ahead to get plenty of sleep in advance of that day, as well as to take some time for some relaxing activities before or after that day.

While you can't technically 'store' sleep, taking on a crazy day when you're well rested is much more manageable than when you're starting with a baseline of stress and sleep deprivation. Self-care is as important as ever during the holidays!

3) Go easy on yourself.

A lot of ourselves, myself included, can sometimes be guilty of being our own harshest critics. Nothing we do is ever good enough, no matter how good it is, and we have never done enough

Especially with the explosion of social media, presenting us with manufactured picture-perfect Instagram (or whatever your poison of choice is) personalities, it's easy to compare ourselves to others who seem to do it all and have it all together always. But if we compare ourselves to manufactured realities without knowing the full reality, as we never do with social media, it's easy to come up short. We preach non-judgment, but sometimes we judge ourselves so harshly.

The judgmental elf.
Instead of pushing for perfection, I think it's better to use the holiday season as an opportunity to embrace ourselves exactly as we are, imperfections and all. Instead of worrying about attending every party, wearing the perfect outfit to every occasion, and staying on top of fitness routines, we should take a breath and use the holidays as a reset, where we focus instead on our families, our personal happiness, and other self-care that we may neglect during the rest of the year. 

The gym will still be there after the holidays, as will networking opportunities and opportunities to dress up and put on a 'perfect' face. Let's stress less and enjoy more during the holidays!

4) Have a light at the end of the tunnel.

This is where learning how to say 'no' comes in handy. If you agree to everything, more days will be crazy than not. Don't let over-committing yourself ruin the holidays for you!

You don't need to go to every holiday party, volunteer at every community event, and host a special dinner at every possible occasion in order to get the most out of the season. Leaving days peppered throughout the month that are more open and less scheduled, especially an occasional free Saturday or Sunday, makes a world of a difference for me.

We all need to recharge sometimes and knowing that a chance to recharge is just around the bend makes it easier to power through those days where you're running around all day long!

5) Snack happy.

Ask any parent, nanny, or experienced babysitter how they handle and/or ward off toddler tantrums and it won't take long before snacks come up. Snacks are important! 

While you and I are well past our toddler years, hangriness is just as much a thing for a thirty year old as it is for a three year old. But all snacks are not created equal!

Peppermint bark or a chocolate Santa might make us feel better a bit longer (and they are, by all means, a valid part of the holidays, too) but if it's a high-stress day and you need to stay powered up, reach for something with longer lasting energy and more important nutrients to keep you going strong.

Big Slice recently sent me some of their apple snacks to try and I think they're a great choice for a healthy on-the-go snack this holiday season!

They are kettle cooked apples, chunks, and sauce in a convenient on-the-go pack without any added sugars, but with lots of fun flavors! The 16 flavors include Chai, Caramel, Pineapple, Passion Fruit & Fiber, and Chocolate Boysenberry!

I recommend Cinnamon French Toast, because I love cinnamon and I love apples. The name is a bit of a stretch, in my opinion, since no one would be fooled (even with eyes closed) into thinking they're eating cinnamon french toast, but I suppose cinnamon apple (a better name) didn't sound as snazzy. 

All 16 varieties are non-GMO, gluten-free, and made with real fruit!

Do you want to try them for yourselves? Enter my giveaway from now through next Sunday, December 20 to win 12 sample pouches in assorted flavors, a Big Slice Tumbler, and a Big Slice spork for a total retail value of $50. Good luck!

What is your favorite on-the-go snack

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