tips


How to stay sane during the holidays

how to stay sane during the holidays

photo credit: Her Creative Studio via Style Collective /

The holiday season is upon us, so now is the time to get organized so we can all stay sane during the busiest time of the year! If you are like me, you have holiday activities already popping up on your calendar. To top things off, you might be hosting a holiday event at your house, plus, you have a ton of shopping to do! Also, if you run your own business, you might be in your fiscal fourth quarter and have year-end financials to reconcile; as well as other loose ends to tie up. It can be hectic this time of year!

The best way to stay sane during the holidays, and to stay on track in order to get everything done during the holidays, is to get organized and have a master plan now. In addition, it’s important to schedule breaks in your schedule and add in some relaxation time!

Without further ado, here are my tips on how to stay sane during the holiday season, and just have fun!

  • Plan your calendar. Make sure you schedule everything that has to do with the holiday season clearly on your calender. You can use a paper planner, or an online planner; which ever makes your schedule crystal clear to you and anyone in your family involved. Also, be sure you are including food shopping. It is good to shop for food 1-2 days ahead of time if you are hosting an event.
  • Order a main course ten days in advance: For Thanksgiving, we usually order our Turkey from the butcher or supermarket about ten days before the day we want to pick it up. This is important to do in order to ensure there is a bird reserved for you ahead of time. We do this for Christmas too with a ham. Whatever your main course is, reserve it ahead of time to make sure it isn’t sold out when you get to the store. It’s nice to have things reserved in your name.
  • Buy groceries two days in advance. For Thanksgiving, buy your groceries on Tuesday. This way, if you forget something, you can still go back on Wednesday to pick it up.
  • Shop when the stores open: Never go to the mall or the store in the middle of the day during the holidays. Always go right when the store opens in order to avoid crowds. This may mean waking up before the rooster on a weekend; but it will make your whole day less stressful, and much easier.
  • Keep your lists in a safe place: I use an excel spreadsheet for holidays gifts and shopping lists. I keep it in my cloud so that I can access it from my laptop or phone. This is handy because you never know when you need to reference your list when you are on the go. Plus, paper lists can get lost.
  • Schedule me time: The holidays are crazy! Be sure to schedule at least one day of relaxation so you can regroup and refresh your body and brain. You will thank yourself!
  • Workout regularly: If your workout routine gets off track, you get off track. Stick to your regular workout schedule and don’t let anything get in the way; unless there is a medical emergency-then please, skip spin.
  • Run errands in the morning: Try to schedule your errands before noon, this way you can get everything done in the morning and then relax and enjoy the rest of your day. We are all more productive in the morning, so it’s the best time to get errands done!
  • Make a budget and stick to it: Plan out how much you are going to spend on every single holiday related expense-then, stick to your budget! This will keep you from overspending and you won’t have to stress out about the holidays during the holidays; you can enjoy them! It makes January easier too, because you don’t have to worry about huge credit card bills arriving in the mail that you can’t afford. When in doubt, stick to your budget!
  • Shop early: Don’t wait until the week before Christmas to buy gifts. Try to get as much shopping done before Thanksgiving as possible. This will allow you time to enjoy the holiday season, and wrap presents in peace.
  • Shop online: If you already know what you need to buy, buy it online. This way you can avoid the crowds and carefully watch your budget. Look for free shipping coupon codes, and special discount codes, starting the week before Thanksgiving. Black Friday isn’t just one day now, stores are starting to offer deals a week or more in advance; so take advantage of them. Be sure to keep checking out my holiday gift guides for online shopping guidance and ideas!
  • Have fun! It’s the holidays. Don’t let your busy schedule and long to-do list get you down. If you are organized and stay on track, everything will fall into place.

That’s it! If you stay organized, on budget, and on track, you are sure to keep your sanity intact this holiday season! Love that!

Do you have any tips for staying sane during the holiday season? Please leave them in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO
Cathy


5 Ways to see the happy side of life

Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional. The following is my opinion. If you are feeling extremely unhappy and sad, please visit a mental health professional for advice and assistance.

Happy National Happiness Happens Day!

What is National Happiness Happens Day? I wondered the same thing, because it is different than the celebration of general happiness; which happens in March. National Happiness Happens Day is a celebration of just being happy.

Everyone has happiness inside of them; no matter how dark or bleak the world may look. No matter how many problems we each face everyday, there is something inside of us that is happy. Sometimes small things make us happy, and sometimes larger than life things make us happy. The important thing to remember is that we need to remind ourselves about what makes us happy when we are down, that way we can return to being happy!

No matter how many bad things might be going on in our lives, there are many more good things in our lives to be thankful and grateful for. These are things that make us happy. Here are five ways to see the happy side of life, no matter what mood you might be in at the moment.

  1. Mother Nature: We live in a beautiful world. Whether you believe God created it, or you believe it was created another way, the Earth is a beautiful place. We have majestic mountains, life-giving trees, and delicate flowers. The water of the Earth gives us life and the ground provides us with a means to grow food. If you are in the dessert, a forest, coastside, or on a prairie, there is beauty in the nature around you. It is important to stop and take a moment to breath in the beauty of nature and appreciate it’s grand glory.
  2. Exercise: Whether you are a gym rat, or have sworn off exercise as the greatest evil of all, moving your body will make you happy. It releases endorphins, which is a natural chemical in your body that makes you happy. Our beautiful bodies created by God, or if you are atheist-created somehow, have the ability to naturally make us happy. Nothing can lift your spirits more then taking a walk outside, shooting hoops at the park, going for a jog, or hitting the gym. All it takes is a minimum of thirty minutes a day of exercise to make us happy.
  3. Make a Pro List: At some point in your life, you may have made a pro/con list. Instead of making a pro/con list, just make a pro list which details all the things you are happy for in your life. Pin it on the refrigerator door, or somewhere you look everyday. This will be a daily reminder of the things that are amazing in your life, and everytime you look at it you will feel happy and thankful. Love that!
  4. Favorite Food: There is an expression, “the way to someone’s heart is through the stomach.” There is nothing like comfort food. Eat food that makes you happy; and be grateful you have the means to eat it!
  5. Favorite Places: Where is your happy place? This could be an amusement park, a quiet neighborhood park, a hiking trail, the top of Mt. Tam., a cozy café, your Mother’s worn sofa; or anywhere you feel secure, happy, and carefree! If you feel down, go there! If you are happy, go there! Always keep your happy place on your calendar so you can continually look forward to it!

What are some things in your life where happiness just happens? For me it’s the beach, a view of Mt. Tam, swimming laps in the pool, working out in a fitness class, spending time with my family, cooking a favorite meal, relaxing with a good book, sipping warm green tea, having a conversation with you about fashion trends, and gazing at the stars. Let me know where happiness happens for you in the comments below!

Enjoy National Happiness Happens Day and have a very happy day!

XOXO

Cathy


Ways to reduce stress

ways to reduce stress manage stress

Ways to reduce stress: Things which help manage stress levels from top left: A fun mug for decaf tea before bedtime / “Zumba” home workout routines to get moving at home and reduce stress / cozy blanket throw to snuggle up in while relaxing before bedtime / paper planner for getting re-organized (this is the planner I own, and I love it!) /  yoga mat for stress reducing exercise / sneakers for looking cool while talking a stress reducing walk

If you find your life is busy, stressful, and hard to manage, then welcome to the family! I am always looking for new ways to reduce stress in my life. As a working Mother of three who home-schools, and volunteers in the community, I have a lot of balls in the air.

In order to manage stress without drinking alcohol, or using any vices, one needs to get creative! If you search online for ways to reduce stress, often times the articles will give advice about meditating, taking deep breaths, and similar new-age type tips. If you are like me, these new-age tips are completely worthless. I don’t do meditation. I don’t listen to tapes with ocean sounds, and I certainly don’t sit crossed-legged taking deep breaths. No sir-re bob!

As an active person, I need active and calming practices to help me reduce stress; as well as time management. In order to juggle running a business, home-schooling two kids, juggling three schedules for three children, keeping my house in order, and maintaining my two, big volunteer jobs, I have created my five tips to managing stress. These work for me! I hope you like them and find them helpful!

5 ways to reduce stress in life

  1. Exercise: OK, I am sure you have heard this before, but exercise is my favorite way to manage my stress level. When you exercise, you release endorphins which helps to keep your spirits up. Exercising actually creates energy, making it easier to get through your busy day. My favorite stress-relieving exercises include Cardio Kickboxing (imagine punching things that stress you out), Spin Classes (spin out the stress!), and Cardio dance classes (nothing like getting lost in the rhythm and the music!).
  2. Get Organized: This may sound like a no-brainer, but sometimes we need to reorganize our personal organization systems. Try switching from an electronic to-do list to a paper planner, or vise-versa. Sometimes just using a new organizational system can makes things seem more simple. I use a paper planner with my daily schedule and to-do list. This helps me organize by the day, week, and month. If one day seems too busy, you can easily switch things up. I think a paper planner is easier to see at a glance versus using an app. I also like being able to take my pen and check things off after they are done.
  3. Relax at least one hour before bed: I don’t know about you, but I cannot get my much-needed sleep if I work up until bedtime. One hour before I go to sleep I zone out in front of the television. This is also a great time to chat on the phone with a friend, catch up with your friends on social media, or listen to music. Don’t do anything productive or your mind will still be spinning when you try to go to sleep.
  4. Schedule “Me Time:” When you work, raise children, and juggle everyday life, sometimes it can be hard to remember to schedule time with your friends, or to schedule alone time. What is fun and relaxing for you? Is it meeting a friend for lunch during a busy day? Is it strolling through the mall with your friends? Is it taking a long walk alone? Make sure you have at least one planned “me time” during the week, every week. It will help keep you sane.
  5. Stay away from addictive substances and sugar: No joke. Caffeine can make you jittery and elevate your heart rate when you are under stress. Alcohol can cause all sorts of headaches when you are stressed out; and I don’t just mean a hangover. Do I even need to mention why cigarettes cause stress even thought you think they calm you down? Just say no. Stay away from anything addictive. Sugar too! Sugar can make you tired, less productive, and groggy. There is no place for a lot of sugar in a busy day. Save sweet treats for your rest days; in moderation of course.

These are the ways I reduce stress in my life, and I manage my stress levels. What are some ways you manage stress in your busy lives?

Things I find comforting when I am stressed out:

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO

Cathy