According to Andy Williams, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year”. I can’t argue with him on that one. How could you not adore the twinkly lights, steamy hot chocolates, and fireside snuggles?
However, there is no doubt that the season brings its fair share of panic and stress. Your waistline expands as your wallet shrinks. Your to-do list lengthens as your sleep shortens. Unfortunately, it’s not all “kids jingle belling” and “gay happy meetings”, Andy.
I am constantly striving to find balance in all aspects of my life, which becomes even more crucial around this time of year. Today, I am sharing how to balance your time, body, and money during the holidays!
BALANCING YOUR TIME
1. Prioritize your tasks. There is nothing more daunting than a never-ending to-do list. Rather than overwhelming yourself with a million things to complete, choose the three most important tasks you want to accomplish each day. A realistic to-do list will help you to stop procrastinating, and focusing on what is most urgent will ensure that you are not wasting time or energy.
2. Volunteer. When we get caught up in our own lives, it is easy to forget that a world exists outside of our subconsciously-created bubbles. Volunteering will broaden your perspective and remind you to be grateful. While you might be thinking, “I don’t need another thing to add to my to-do list…”, giving back to those in need is one of the best uses of your time. I personally enjoy preparing and serving meals at my local soup kitchen. Soup kitchens and homeless shelters are flooding with volunteers during the holidays, but don’t forget that help is needed year-round.
3. Set boundaries. I am all about saying “yes”. An attitude of “yes” can lead to new opportunities and long-lasting memories. On the other hand, there is power in saying “no”. With the busyness of the holidays, it is common to over-commit and end up with way too many responsibilities. Turning down requests and invitations can be difficult when you feel like you are letting others down. However, keeping your social schedule and number of tasks reasonable will relieve stress and make the yeses much more enjoyable.
4. Make time for yourself. The idea of “self-care” has been thrown around like confetti throughout 2017, and for a good reason. Much of your time is probably devoted to others during the holidays, but we need to show ourselves some love, too. Incorporating self-care is essential to boost your mental health. If you feel short on time, set aside 10 minutes each morning or night to do something simple you enjoy, whether that is journaling, stretching, reading, or watching a Youtube video.
BALANCING YOUR BODY
5. Eat what will make you feel good. Many experience a constant internal battle surrounding food, especially during the holiday season. Should you choose the salad for dinner, or give in to the honey-glazed ham and mashed potatoes? Should you pass on the pumpkin pie or indulge in a slice? Ultimately, pick what will satisfy both your body and soul. One day, chocolate chip cookies might be tugging at your heart, so eat some without letting food guilt get to you. The next, your body could crave veggies, so whip together a green smoothie for breakfast. My advice is to give yourself full permission to eat what you want. Maybe you fear that this freedom will result in you eating junk 24/7. However, once you realize that those cookies aren’t going anywhere, you will find the right balance between eating for physical health and eating for pleasure.
6. Move intuitively. Curling up under a pile of blankets sounds much more appealing than going for a run in the cold winter weather. That is completely understandable, but lounging around every day will not make you feel your best in the end. Lethargy can be avoided by incorporating gentle movement regularly. There is no need to create a strict routine that you must follow to a T– this could lead to your workouts feeling like a chore, when in reality, you should enjoy exercise. Instead, move intuitively. If you are feeling sluggish and sore one day, go for a leisurely walk or do some yoga. If you have more energy the next, bump up the intensity of your workout. Exercise according to how your body is feeling.
7. Stay hydrated. You’ve heard it countless times, but we could all use the reminder to drink more water! In the winter, we often overlook the importance of staying hydrated. Just because you aren’t panting and sweating under the beating sun does not mean you need any less H20! Drinking enough water will banish dry skin, improve digestion, and keep you energized all winter long.
BALANCING YOUR MONEY
8. Go the homemade route. Christmas shopping is fun and all, but it sure does some damage to your bank account. Instead of buying all your gifts, make something for your friends and family. Whip up a sugar scrub, decorate a DIY ornament, put together a scrapbook…get creative! The time and effort that goes into a homemade gift is much more meaningful than a store-bought item.
9. Be a selective shopper. In the past, I wanted to buy something for nearly every person in my life…partly because I love to give, and partly because I worried that I would receive a gift from so-and-so and not have anything for them in return. However, it is unnecessary to shop for everyone, and this mentality leads to a quickly shrinking wallet. Choose only the most important people in your life to purchase presents for. Bake cookies to hand out to the others; this gesture can be equally as thoughtful, while saving you money.
10. Participate in free activities. Staying at a ski resort and seeing The Nutcracker are great, but there are plenty of free activities available during the holiday season that are just as exciting. Drive through a decorated neighborhood, have a Christmas movie marathon, build a snowman (if you are blessed with a white winter)…there are tons of options that won’t break the bank!
Balancing your time, body, and money will allow you to make the most of this season. Always remember to be fully present and live in the moment because the holidays only come once a year! I hope you found this post helpful. How do you find balance during the holidays?