Finding Balance During The Holidays

December 14, 2011 · 11 comments

Cheerful music. Generosity abound. Large green sparkly trees. Colorful lights lining the streets of Boston. Parties with friends and family. Awesome deals on new clothes. Yummy baked goods. These are just a few reasons why I love the holiday season. With so much going on, it’s hard for me to find balance with the excitement of the season.

The most stressful aspect is buying gifts for people. I am always searching for the perfect one while trying to get a deal. I hate buying people gifts they don’t need or want. Waiting for them to tell me what they want can ruin chances of getting deals or surprises. While I’m always going to be a work in progress, over the years I have learned a few tips that really work. This week, the Fitfluential team asked their ambassadors to share 5 ways they find balance during the most wonderful time of the year. Here are mine:

1. Make a list of 2-4 things you need to accomplish the following day. These should be the only tasks that NEED to get done. I learned this from the 4-hour Work Week. While I try to accomplish more than just 2 tasks a day, if I fill my list with 6-8 things, I never complete them all and my day feels less accomplished and unsatisfying.

2. Exercise is the best therapy. Sure it burns calories but if you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious, it is proven that exercise helps alleviate these icky feelings. Running helps me clear my head and think of solutions while yoga relaxes me. I usually exercise 6 times a week during the holidays, usually just for 30-minutes to an hour. With all the engagements and baby notices on facebook these days, I may have to continue this throughout the year.

3. Taste everything (eat nothing). I learned this is from Bethenny Frankel when I used to work with her. I think the second part of the statement is just plain misunderstood however I do like to taste everything. I don’t understand how you eat nothing, but I’ve implemented the rule that I’m allowed to taste everything and anything I want. I usually do not go back for seconds because I try to eat something before a party like this. A dinner full of spinach and artichoke dip washed down with eggnog and cookies tends not to sit well.

4. Sleep. Getting 7 hours of sleep is a must, and to be honest, I try to get 8 if I can. I know I’m not the average person when it comes to fitting it all in, work, exercise and sleep but I do believe cutting out TV time and getting to bed early can help increase the amount of pillow time you get. Not only are well rested individuals less likely to be overweight but are also able to make a busy schedule work. I find that alcohol does not help with sleep but makes for a restless night. Also, big meals right before going to sleep disrupt your night’s rest as well.

5. Money and buying gifts are two of the major causes for stress during the holidays. I wish I had a ground breaking tip on how to balance your money but I can offer the help of two website I’ve personally found this year to be very helpful, Learnvest.com and DailyWorth.com. Homemade gifts are a few of my favorite presents. Homemade granola, a mason jar filled with cookie ingredients to be baked fresh and homemade jams are all inexpensive classic gifts most of us can afford to give.

Questions of the day:

  • How do you find balance during the Holidays?
  • What is the most stressful part of the Holidays for you?

Also, congrats to Allison and Amy who won the clothing and T-shirt giveaways this week. I’ll be back later Wednesday with a giveaway and new YouTube workout video for new mom’s featuring one of my favorite YouTubers, Elle from WhatsUpELLE.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katy @ A Shot of Life December 14, 2011 at 3:47 am

Balance during the holidays definitely = everything in moderation. Love the taste everything idea, and exercise definitely helps to keep things sane! BTW- so glad I’m not the only one overwhelmed with the engagement/baby facebook posts ;o)

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2 Theodora December 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm

1. I <3 Learnvest–I used to write for them!
2.Do I need to read the 4 Hour Work Week?? Is it good??

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3 Sarah December 14, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I like it for the most part, still have the last section but it was basically written for someone in the online selling business. I find it hard to relate it to “roomies” job but for me, it has helped productivity. It has some helpful tips but is not for everyone. I guess I’ll blog about it when I finish. It has a ton of references to helpful sites. I don’t think you NEED to read it, but I do think it has a few good ideas for people like us.

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4 Allison December 14, 2011 at 3:17 pm

The most stressful thing about the holiday’s is finding time to spend with both sides of my family… My parents separated when I was a freshman in high school and ever since, my brother and I have tried our best to split our time between our mother and father. This year it’s going to be even more difficult because I am now living with my fiancĂ© and his parents are split so we have 4 different families to divide our time among… As they always say: the more, the merrier!

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5 Sarah December 14, 2011 at 3:26 pm

I completely forgot to mention this in my post above so I am so glad you mentioned this. I have divorced parents as well, but do not have a typical situation. I cannot imagine what it must be like trying to visit all 4 sets! With my bf, we usually split up the holidays like Thanksgiving at one place and Christmas at the other. My extended family has a large Christmas Eve party for that reason so people don’t have to feel guilty. When I live in a house (not apt) to accommodate everyone, I think I’ll plan to have a eve party too.

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6 Shannon from Healthiful Balance December 14, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Great tips, Sarah! :)
Sticking to my workout routine helps me during the holidays.

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7 Viviana December 14, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Very nice article as usual, Sarah. I too like homemade gifts. I am actually giving my friends a homemade lavender sugar scrubs and a towel for the gym that says : “10 more reps and the cupcake is history”. Cute, huh? I am also makling homemade Nutella and peppermint vodka for a white elephant gift party. Pinterest has been a great inspiration (by the way, I pinned a couple of your videos;)).
The most stressful part for me right now is work! I am a project manager at a translation company and it seems that all of my clients wake up on December 1st and discover that Christmas is coming! So they need to get stuff done and they want it NOW! LOL.So I am working 12 hours a day and I am exhausted! Thankfully I still do my best to sneak in your quick workouts like the Tabata or the Pilates. But I admit I am not able to workout much :( I am trying to eat super healthy at least on the days when I don’t have parties/dinners. Definitely healthy breakfasts and lunches at work, and then no alcohol unless I am going out. Hubby was having wine last night but I fought the urge and said “No”. I’ll have plenty during the holidays! Also, my family lives in Italy so it’s really hard to balance the visits…they are not able to come see me this year so I am flying over there. Thankfully my husband’s family has been very understanding, after all I see them all the time whereas my family is all the way across the ocean! Both my husbands and I have divorced/remarried parents so yeah, that just adds to the fun!
Thankfully I’ll be off to Colorado for a few days tomorrow and while my husband skis I will be able to relax, workout (the condo we rented has access to a gym!) and hopefully make it to a nice spa!

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8 Kristy Doyle December 14, 2011 at 8:52 pm

It just seems like there is SO MUCH more to do during the holidays. Christmas shopping, parties, family in town. It’s so hard to fit all of it in on an already busy schedule! I try not to let my healthy habits suffer, but sometimes they do, unfortunately. It’s so stressful!

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9 Rachel December 15, 2011 at 3:25 am

I get very stressed during the holidays because I have so much to do and so less time to do it and also trying buy gifts for everyone on my list and not being completely broke and not going without!

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10 Kendra December 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I try to balance by keeping the main focusing on what Christmas means to my family and I. Time with the kids! The stress comes from the baking and cooking. I need a bigger kitchen!!!

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11 Caitlin December 15, 2011 at 6:44 pm

“Taste everything, eat nothing” I like that! Puts emphasis on savoring and appreciating what we put into our bodies.

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