We are all familiar with the contradiction at the heart of the festive season: it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most stressful. Presents, events, and visiting relatives all build up to a slightly overwhelming few weeks, no matter how much we enjoy the season. The secret to making it through: Use your mornings more effectively.
Wake Up at Your Usual Time
First of all, don’t be tempted to sleep in during your days off. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day is good for our bodies, and it will make it easier for you to transition back to your regular schedule after the holidays. Waking up at your usual time also lets you keep a routine and frees up time to get through your festive to-do list.
Get the Energy to Keep Up with the Kids
Christmas is the most exciting time of year for many kids, which can make their energy levels start to soar uncontrollably. This is especially true once Christmas break starts, which is why it is important for parents to make sure they have the energy to keep up from the second the family wakes up. Step away from the coffee pot and focus on practicing healthy, energy-boosting habits such as exercising, getting enough sleep, and eating well.
Start the Day Off Well
Speaking of eating well, don’t let the vast abundance of Christmas treats stop you from eating a healthy breakfast. Sure, it’s tempting to start the day with a plate of gingerbread cookies, but this doesn’t set you up for a good day and can cause a stress-inducing sugar spike later on. Focus on getting enough complex carbs, protein, healthy fats, and fiber to start your day right. If you do want something more festive, try one of these delicious Christmas breakfast recipes for an exciting but homemade option.
Turn on some tunes
Music has well-known calming properties. It can take your mind off the stresses of the holidays and put your entire family in a good place emotionally. Murdoch University notes that listening to music you like creates a physical response by triggering the release of oxytocin, a hormone associated with feelings of contentment. Turn on a favorite station during breakfast to help everyone ease into their day.
Get Housework Out of the Way
With the kids staying home all day, you will probably notice the house’s everyday mess starts building up a lot faster. Take some time first thing in the morning to tidy up and get basic housework out of the way. A tidy house reduces stress, and it also frees up time for you to do more fun activities during the rest of the day.
Plan Out the Christmas Meal
Serving the big festive meal can be a huge source of stress, so use your mornings to do all the planning well in advance. Select your recipes, write down a full list of ingredients, plan a day for the shopping trip, and make sure to time this well — too soon and some fresh products may go bad, too late and you may have trouble finding key ingredients. This detailed planner can help you stay organized and on track.
The holidays are, almost invariably, a stressful time. Even if you use your mornings effectively to keep everything under control, it is a good idea to practice some proactive relaxation to keep stress levels down. Start a morning meditation ritual to make you feel balanced, calm, and ready for the day. A meditation app is the best way to get started if you are new — this helpful guide by SELF details the best options available.
Mornings tend to be undervalued, but you can get a lot done during those first few hours of the day. It’s all about keeping a routine and using your time effectively. Focus on making your December mornings productive, and you can leave the afternoons and evenings to spend time with family and actually enjoy what the holidays are all about.
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