It happens every year — we look forward to enjoying the holiday season and when it finally arrives, many of us find ourselves so busy and stressed that it goes by in what seems like no time at all! After all the shopping, decorating, wrapping, traveling, cooking and family coordinating, on top of juggling ongoing responsibilities, who has time to simply enjoy the season? You do! And we’ll show you how. Here’s our list of holiday hacks to help you make the most of the holiday season this year.
Set Your Priorities Every Day
As much as we’d like to have superpowers, there’s only so much we can get done in a day. So, let’s make some lists! Think of what you enjoy most about the holidays and write those things down first. Do you love decorating? Do you look forward to making cookies with your children? Do you enjoy driving around to see all the holiday lights? Write down what makes the holidays feel happiest for you and plan plenty of time for those things.
Next, write everything else down too. Make a master list of everything you can think of that needs to be done between now and the end of the holiday season. The simple act of getting everything out of your head and on paper makes it easier to prioritize the tasks, and it will help you stay focused. It also helps you avoid the stress of trying to remember everything or realizing that you forgot something at the last minute.
Keep your list handy and add to it as needed. Sort everything into groups of tasks that can be completed at the same time, and consider how you might get each group of tasks done in the most efficient way possible so you can make more time for the things you enjoy.
Aim for Productivity Bursts
This well-known office productivity hack is just as useful outside of the office. Also, think of it as bringing interval training to your productivity habits. With the exception of your favorite holiday activities, set aside blocks of 20-30 minutes each and work with as much focus as possible. Take a 5- or 10-minute break between each productivity burst. You might be surprised by how much you can get done in 20-minute intervals of deep concentration.
Of course, this method can’t be applied to everything on your holiday list, but it works great for stationary tasks. You can use it for addressing holiday cards, tidying up your home to get ready for visitors, making lists of gift ideas for friends and family, and even decorating if that isn’t on your list of favorites.
Enlist Your Elves for Holiday Help
Cleaning, decorating, cooking and entertaining – you don’t need to do it all yourself! Get the family involved by asking them to help with age-appropriate chores. Kids can help in the kitchen with whisking, stirring, rolling out dough, cutting cookies and decorating them. Also, enlist their help with decorating your home, making gift tags and wrapping gifts for other people. We promise your friends and family won’t mind those adorable, less than perfect wrap jobs! And get the whole family to help tidy up before company arrives.
Speaking of company, why not ask guests to bring along a side dish or dessert? Or if you're attending dinner elsewhere, ask the host if you can bring something. Potluck-style holiday dinners are a lot less work for everyone! Make healthy suggestions or come up with a few healthy holiday snack hacks to avoid sweet, high-calorie dishes and stay on track with your eating plan.
Make Downtime Your Time
The holidays shouldn’t be all work and no play. The lists we mentioned above will help you stay on track for getting everything done and scheduling time for what you enjoy, but don’t try to use every second of every day to be productive. That’s a recipe for staying stressed all season long! And since stress affects memory and concentration, you may actually end up getting less done and making fewer holiday memories that way.1
When you find yourself with some downtime, don’t immediately feel like you should fill it with the next item on your to-do list. You’ll stay happier and healthier if you use some of that time to take better care of yourself. If it helps you, make another list of all the nice things you can do for yourself this holiday season like giving yourself a pampering manicure or refreshing your mind and body with a magnesium bath or foot soak.
Support Your Immune System
The holiday season is, unfortunately, a prime time for getting sick. Between holiday stress, spending more time with other people, eating more finger foods, which means more potential for sharing germs, and maybe having a few more drinks, your immune system is working overtime.
Help protect your body by getting plenty of sleep, staying hydrated, washing your hands often, and supplementing your diet with immunity-boosting nutrients like our Super Stress Vitamin B-Complex with Vitamin C. You should also consider probiotics to support your digestive system and metabolism boosters to help you stay on track through holiday festivities. Green coffee bean extract helps support metabolism while providing an antioxidant boost. Chromium supplements and Matcha green tea are other great options for metabolic support.
Start Thinking About Resolutions
No matter what your New Year's resolutions, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for success. Think beyond what you want to accomplish and plan out exactly how you are going to accomplish it! If you want to exercise more, spend some time researching workout options you’ll enjoy, so you’ll be more likely to stick to your workout plan. If you want to lose weight, schedule an appointment with a dietitian to work out a healthy eating plan that will keep you nourished while you lose weight, plus do some research on weight loss supplements.
Also, set smaller milestone goals that lead up to achieving your larger goal. For example, if your New Year's resolution is to train to run a 5K, you might start out doing intervals of walking and running for a total of 10 minutes a day the first week and build up from there. Setting smaller goals along the way will help you stay motivated and on your way to success.
Bonus Hack – If you want to make holiday shopping for friends and family a lot easier this year, opt for healthy gift boxes or bundles instead of food and beverage gifts. Try the Swanson Premium Daily Essentials Kit,or our Good Day, Good Night bundle.
Do you have your own holiday hacks to share? We would love to hear them! Share them in the comments below.
You might also be interested in reading 7 Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season (Plus Recipes!) and Delicious Stress-Busting Foods… Just in Time for the Holidays.
1 Memory Loss: WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/brain/memory-loss#1 (Accessed 11/27/2017)