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.
Try Herbs for Energy and Focus
Need a helping hand? Certain herbs can help sharpen your mind and give you all the energy you need to power through those holiday lists. Pure Brain from Swanson Pure Science Herbals includes clinically-researched herbals to support vital neurotransmitters linked to healthy cognitive function—so maybe you won’t need to check that list twice after all!
And Pure Energy gives you all-day energy, plus sharpened concentration without the jitters from a synergistic blend of adaptogens, herbs and botanicals that also promote positive mood while fighting stress and fatigue. Check out our full line of Pure Science Herbals and harness the power of nature, proven by science.
Want to learn more? Read Why Choose Condition Specific Herbs for Energy, Joint, Heart and Brain Health?
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 self-care 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.
What can you do during those self-care breaks in between? Refresh your mind with a mini meditation session, practice deep breathing, make yourself a cup of herbal tea, do some light stretches or reading—anything that makes you feel refreshed. Mix it up to fit in more time for yourself so you can approach the next task at hand feeling rejuvenated. For more ideas, check out Take Care of U: 6 Ways to Take Care of Yourself.
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. See 18 Food Replacement Hacks that Make Healthy Eating Easy for ideas on making your favorite recipes healthier.
As for your holiday cleaning, make sure you’re using eco-friendly cleaning products that are safer for you, your family, and the environment. Or consider looking toward your pantry for ingredients to get a healthier clean. You can learn more in Your Home Guide for Natural Household Cleaning Tips.
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. Check out our 11 Best Self Care Tips for Mind & Body for more great ideas.
Support Your Immune System
The holiday season is, unfortunately, a prime time for health concerns. 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.
You may also want to consider probiotics to support your digestive system since the health of your gut also influences immune health, 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. Or spread some holiday cheer the homemade way with these 25 DIY Holiday & Christmas Gifts.
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)
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
This post was originally published on 12/08/2017 and was revised on 12/17/2018.