10 Healthy Time-Saving Holiday Tips

There are about two weeks left in the holiday season. How are you feeling? Tired? Grumpy? Overwhelmed? My hope is that you are enjoying a well-rested, balanced holiday season. If you are not, here are ten holiday tips that may help:

  1. Just Say No:  Seriously … say NO. No to party invitations, no to requests to bring cookies to your children’s school events, no to one more piece of fudge,  and no to the surprise gift exchange request. Any stress you are feeling is your Christmas Clockown creation. Say no and set yourself free from it! Never volunteer to meet a need unless filling that need is appropriate for you and will bring you joy. (Saying “yes” to sex during the holidays is a great way of reducing stress, but that topic doesn’t really fit this post.)
  2. Buy Holiday Meals and Appetizers:  Most health food retailers offer a pre-cooked holiday meal you can buy. This allows you to eat a whole-food, mostly organic holiday meal without going to the effort of cooking it yourself. It’s ok to let someone else cook. I promise. If buying food pre-made is too much for your pride to handle, take advantage of mixes. Liven them up with your own personal touches and enjoy the time savings.
  3. Plan and Prioritize:  Sit down a few weeks (or months) before the holidays and map out a strategy. Schedule deadlines for specific tasks and then stick to them. Accomplishing a little bit each week prior to the holidays instead of trying to cram everything into two weeks will help take the pressure off.
  4. Delegate:  Stop being a martyr. Assign tasks on that list you made in #3 to other people. Involve your children and your spouse in every aspect of holiday preparations. (I guarantee your children are capable of doing far more than you’re asking them to.) Don’t limit delegating to holiday preparations. Host a pitch-in instead of doing everything yourself, Delegate tasks during the party, too. Ask (firmly, if needed) guests to help with dishes, post party clean up, etc. If needed, hire help. Consider it a gift to yourself!
  5. Shop Online … in Duplicate:  This one is a no-brainer. Do your shopping online. When you find a perfect gift, buy it for more than one person. Take advantage of free gift wrapping offered by some online retailers.
  6. Re-Write Tradition:  It’s ok to change tradition in favor of simpler options. If there are family traditions that have become a burden, find new ways of celebrating. It may seem a bit strange at first, but the new tradition will soon feel just as cozy as the old one. Having less stress will be a nice benefit.
  7. Communicate:  Clear, honest and consistent communication during the holidays is imperative. This is possibly the most important of all these holiday tips. It’s truly ok to let Aunt Martha know you can’t eat her annual fruitcake. It’s ok to let acquaintances know you are cutting down your gift list and would rather meet for a cup of coffee than exchange gifts.  It’s also ok to let your extended family know in advance if there are topics you’d rather not discuss during the family get-together. If you’re bringing a guest you know the rest of the family doesn’t care for, communicate that in advance and make it clear you expect your family to be on their best behavior. Be kind and courteous, but be honest and firm. Clear communication can help decrease stress and awkwardness.
  8. Work Out at Home Instead of at the Gym:  Save time by using a workout video or by taking advantage of your lonely treadmill. Working out at home is a simple way to save time and a bit of stress. After all, you can work out in your jammies and no one will ever know. Notice I did not give permission to stop working out, but provided a simpler alternative.
  9. Support a Worthy Cause Instead of Giving Gifts:  This is another no-brainer. Instead of buying many different gifts, use the money to make a donation to a worthy organization. Give everyone on your gift list a beautiful card notifying them that you made a donation in their honor to support a worthy organization. Not all of your recipients will appreciate such a gesture. That’s not your problem. Communicating your noble choice in advance may help.
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  10. Give it Up:  Give up your desire for perfection. Give up your unrealistic expectations. Give up any expectations you have of others. Give up your wish that __________ were different. Celebrate the perfection of your imperfection and savor every special moment. They are yours, so make the most of them!

 What are your favorite ways to simplify the holidays?


Photo courtesy of Aimee Wray

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Dr. Pamela Reilly is a Naturopathic Physician dedicated to helping people improve their health and eliminate symptoms using natural, integrative methods. She has over 25 years of experience and has helped men, women and children improve their health using a holistic, client-centered focus. She sees clients in Indianapolis, does house calls, and also conducts consultations via Skype or telephone. Please feel free to contact her or visit her Consultations page for more information. Dr. Pamela speaks nationwide on a wide variety of health topics and welcomes speaking invitations.

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