And we’re off! Keep your hands and feet inside the rollercoaster at all times, folks. I don’t know about you, but this time of year goes so fast. From Halloween through Valentine’s Day, and especially Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, things fly by. It all just becomes a blur. Luckily, I’ve got 10 ways to ensure you enjoy the holidays.

In some respects I like that this time of year goes by fast because I’m not the biggest fan of the snow and cold. I can usually do snow or cold, but the two combined take the wind out of my sails. I’m fine with a little bit snow. And if I don’t have to drive it in I feel a little better about it. So if the snow and cold part of the year wants to go by fast I’m okay with that.You’re probably thinking, it’s only November 1, what’s the rush?! It’s November 1, that’s the rush. Sure, the fact that we haven’t even had a trace of snow gives me a fall sense of having too much time until the holidays. Which is exactly why I need to get my game face on! This is not a drill people! 5/6 of the year is done. I present to you 10 ways to make sure you enjoy the holidays.

Choose your battles. One of the reasons this time of year goes so fast is because there are so many events going on. We get invited to lots of parties and other events this time of year: holiday parties, breakfast with Santa, recitals, volunteer events, happy hours, brunches. Sometimes it hard to keep them all straight.

Just because you get invited doesn’t mean you have to go. If you spread yourself too thin you’re not going to be at your best. So pick the events that are the most special to you and pass on the other ones. Then enjoy the heck out of the ones you go to. There’s nothing worse than being pulled in all directions, feeling like you’re a chicken running around with your head cut off, then getting no joy out of any of the things you’re doing. So make time for the things that make you happy and pass on the ones that suck your energy and provide little or no joy.

Plan ahead. We’ve all heard ‘fail to plan, plan to fail” but that is a little aggressive, don’t you think? It’s not the end of the world if you don’t plan. But planning does make it easier to accomplish everything you want to.

I’m already trying to remember to order Christmas cards earlier than I did last year, get my Christmas card list hammered out so I can send all my cards at once rather than in waves like I normally do. I only send them in intervals because I don’t have all the names and addresses ready. Then I get super stressed and freak out vowing never to send out Christmas cards again. Rather than going this route yet again, I have already started planning. In fact, when we were in Colorado in June I was already planning which pictures we’d use for our Christmas card.

Now I’m on to the card ordering phase. I’ve learned that popping onto a website like tiny prints to pick out a card because I have a “free” hour doesn’t work. It can’t be rushed because there are so many cute options. I need more time to look them over and find one that works for our pictures.

Pace yourself. If you start now you have the luxury of pacing yourself. You don’t have to cram everything into one week. It’s more enjoyable when you don’t have to force things into a short time frame.

Don’t do it all by yourself. Parties and events usually require you to bring something. That doesn’t mean it has to be homemade. Whether you don’t have time to make something from scratch or you just want to keep your sanity, don’t be afraid to bring something store bought.

If pre-packaged isn’t your thing, find a local small or home-based business that you can use. It’s always fun to support local small businesses.

Or, job swap. Find a friend who enjoys making food and offer to do something for her that she hates doing. You could also have you kids or your spouse help you.

Don’t have time to mail out holiday cards? Don’t want to spend the time putting up holiday decorations? Too tired to shop? Hire someone. Leave it to the people that do it best and save your time and energy for something you really want to do.

10-ways-to-ensure-you-enjoy-the-holidays

Find time to exercise. I’m a rockstar when it comes to finding ways to avoid exercise. When you’ve got a lot going on the last thing you may be thinking about is when you’re gonna get in a workout. Make it a priority. Find time for 30 minutes or more of exercise a day. Whether it’s taking a workout class or walking the mall for (mostly) exercise purposes (and a little shopping), find the time. You could also do something with family or friends that doubles as a workout, like ice skating or sledding. Two birds, one stone, lots of fun.

Get rest. Sure, you can sleep when you’re dead. Isn’t that what they always say? But When you’re going a million miles an hour, the last thing you think you have time for is eight hours of sleep. But getting adequate rest is one thing that helps you get through the holidays. Also, cocaine, or so I’ve heard. Personally, I’ll take sleep over drugs. Maybe that’s because I have a Sleep Number bed. Yeah, we made an investment in my future. My future as a nap strategist.

I use to take naps all the time. Long, two hour naps almost every day. I haven’t done that in years. I’m a little more selective about my napping these days. While I want to take a nap every day, I don’t need one. Sometimes just the act of lying down and resting for 20 minutes is enough to perk me back up. Other times a 30 minute nap is just what I need. Let your body dictate how much rest you need and actually listen to it.

Stay hydrated. For someone who carries a water bottle with me EVERYWHERE, I am the least hydrated person. I guess you’re actually supposed to consume the water, not just shuttle it around with you. Luckily, my nutritionist says I can count some of the skim milk I drink towards my eight glasses of water a day. Otherwise I’d never come close to eight glasses a day.

Being hydrated just makes you feel better. I can’t be the only one who feel likes being well hydrated gives them more energy. While I couldn’t find anything to support this theory, I did find a bunch of other reasons to drink water. Like the fact that water flushes out the toxins. The last thing you need during the busy holiday season is to be sick. While getting your daily fluid intake can’t guarantee that you won’t get sick it helps you stave off illness. If you’re as bad as I am at remembering to drink water, there are apps to track your consumption and harass you when you need some motivation to drink up.

Spend a night in. Sometimes the best option is to stay home. Need to bake cookies? Wrap gifts? Write out holiday cards? Spend the night at home watching holiday movies and getting all these things done on one night.

Maybe you need some time to chill? Stay home and read a book or get caught up on those magazines that keep piling up but never seem to get read. I’m reaching full on hoarder status with all the magazines I keep saving to read. Now I need to make time to do it so I can recycle them.

Give back. The only thing I like more than volunteering is bragging to others about my volunteering. Sometimes the best way to enjoy the holidays is by giving to those in need. There are so many opportunities to help out this time of year. Serve a meal at a homeless shelter. Donate toys to an organization like Toys for Tots. You can volunteer as an individual, with your family, or with co-workers. It’s just a matter of finding the opportunities that work with your interests and schedule.

Try something new. Embracing something new always makes me feel invigorated. It gives me a boost of energy and extra excitement for this time of year. Sure, there may be some trepidation leading up to the new adventure especially if it’s something outside of your comfort zone. But once you conquer it, you’ll feel renewed. Consider starting a new tradition like seeing a play or sending holiday cards to people who may not have anyone sending cheer their way. Go visit a new exhibit. I just learned of the Mythbusters exhibit at Mall of America and can’t wait to check it out!
It’s hard to believe there are only two months left in 2016. This really is the most wonderful time of the year. Find time to enjoy it and do things you love with people you love. It will make it that much more special.

Thanks for stopping by! Julie

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