How to Stay Sane Over the Holidays

Are you feeling the pressures of the holidays now more than ever? You’re not alone, but the good news is you don’t have to spend the next week being stressed out. Use one, two, or all of the tips below to keep yourself sane over the next week!

Drink wine. I am kidding… sort of. 🙂

Order healthy takeout for dinner. You have permission to hang up your apron for a few days! With all of the demands of the holidays, it may not be entirely possible to make a home cooked meal every night for dinner this week, and that’s ok. You can go to Whole Foods or Martin’s and make a salad off of the salad bar or order something from the deli. A few of my favorite restaurants for take-out are Zing Japanese Fusion (I order the Rainbow Roll and Alaskan Roll), Aladdin’s (I order Jasmine’s Special), Rocky River Tap and Table (I order the Veggie Plate or Salmon), Great Wall (I order steamed vegetables and chicken or shrimp), or Panera (I order a salad–I love all of them). A few drive-thru options are Jimmy John’s (order your sandwich Unwich-style) or Chick-fil-A (order grilled chicken). There are plenty of other options too. If you have a favorite ‘go-to’ for healthy takeout leave a comment below and share the love!

Use gift bags. Nobody said you have to wrap every single present. Bags, people. There is no judgement and your loved ones will love their gift just as much.

Ask for help. Your family won’t know you need help unless you ask. What responsibility can you pass off? Can your husband pick up something from the grocery store for you? Can your kids help you with dishes? Can a family member bring an appetizer to your party? If you find yourself overwhelmed, ask yourself, “Did I ask anyone for help?” If your answer is no, stop complaining and start asking!

Simplify your menu. Simple food is beautiful. Holidays are not the time to try new, grand recipes–it causes stress. Instead, go with your classics that everyone loves. The old saying ‘less is more’ is true and can be applied to your holiday menu.

Prepare easy appetizers. I don’t know if it is because I am Italian or not but my favorite appetizer to make is an antipasto tray. It is simple, beautiful, and delicious. There are three essential parts to an antipasto tray: salami, cheese, and olives. I am not sure if this is a technical rule, but that is what I follow. You can dress it up a little more with crackers, a spreadable herbed goat cheese, or stuffed peppadauw peppers. And if you are wondering, yes, I do eat salami. See the Italian sentence above. 🙂

Order cookies from your local bakery. OMG, as the words came out of my mouth, I am wondering if I just committed a sin? Ok, I get it, I know Christmas is not the same without your favorite homemade cookie. I know I would be a little sad without my Grandma’s thumbprint cookies (thanks mom for making them-love you) but there is no need to make a dozen different kinds of cookies by hand. Make one or two of your family’s favorites and order the rest from a bakery like Macri’s, Sugarush, or Adam’s Cake Shop. I am sure there are other delicious bakeries in our area but those are my three favorite. 

Use throw-away plates and utensils. Doing this one day a year won’t hurt. I won’t tell anyone. It will save you dish time and allow you to spend it with your loved ones.

Lay your party clothes out. Pre-plan what you want to wear to your parties so you don’t spend time standing in your closet debating on what to wear while you are in a time-crunch to be showered, dressed, and out the door.

Take a deep breathe. Literally, take a deep breathe. You are probably running around like a chicken with your head cut off. Take one minute, breathe deep, and allow yourself to calm down. 

Make peace with a messy house. This week is not going to be the cleanest week of the year. Nobody else cares, so you shouldn’t either.

Say no. It’s ok to say no over the next week to things you would normally say yes to. You can do everything, but not all at once. Post-pone errands, lunch dates, and little work projects until after the holidays. Nobody will get mad at you for respecting your time.

Don’t use ‘holiday stress’ as an excuse to pig out. You know I am all about moderation but a busy holiday week isn’t an excuse to eat like crap for the entire week. Enjoy some holiday treats while you are at parties, but otherwise, stick to your normal eating routine and try to incorporate vegetables into at least one meal a day.

Listen to music instead of tv. Music keeps you movin’ and groovin’ where tv can suck you into just standing and staring (i.e. wasting time)! Better yet, flip on some holiday jams to get you even more into the holiday spirit.

Put your phone away. Get into the ‘now’ of your life. If you spend time over this week looking at social media you are going to compare your traditions to others. You may feel like you, your traditions, etc. are ‘not enough’. Of course, that person is only putting their holiday highlight reel online; they forget to post the picture of the dry ham, burnt cookies, or their kids having melt-downs. No one’s life is perfect, so don’t stress that yours isn’t. Enjoy your imperfect world for what it is this week.

Squeeze in exercise. It seems counter-intuitive to add something into your schedule but taking 30 minutes to an hour each day to exercise will help you de-stress and increase your feel-good hormones. 

Be grateful. Remind yourself each day of one thing you are grateful for. This will help put your stress into perspective. This is actually something you should do all the time, not just over the holidays. 

Find a way to honor lost loved ones. Holidays can be stressful as we think about and miss loved ones that have passed away. Find a way to honor them and know that they are there in spirit. Maybe light a candle, hang an ornament, or say a prayer in their honor. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Just acknowledging them can make you feel better and lift stress.

These aren’t major things, but these little tweaks go a long way. What are your tried and true tips for keeping yourself sane over the holidays? Leave a comment below with your answer. I know I could use all the help I can get! Happy holidays! Xo

1 thought on “How to Stay Sane Over the Holidays”

  1. Hi Gina,
    Had last minute company come to visit yesterday- first time in history I didn’t try to make a gourmet meal – stayed with a healthier version of shepherds pie – substituted Hamburg with ground turkey and substituted white mashed potatoes with sweet potatoes. Served with side salad on paper plates?

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