I have a love/hate relationship with the holidays.

I love the twinkle of Christmas lights. I love heading to the mountains to cut down a tree. I love drinking hot wassail on Christmas Eve. I love the kindness that people show. I love watching my kids open their presents and their eyes light up with excitement on Christmas morning. I love opening Christmas cards from friends all over the world. I love spending time with my little family.

But I don’t love the excess, too much food, too much booze, too much stuff. I don’t like the long lines at the stores and the feeling like my family will never have a Pinterest perfect holiday even when I try.

It’s been crazy around here, not exactly how I want the holidays to go.

Last Sunday I finished up an epic 3-week trip and got back home just in time for a snowstorm that closed all roads in and out of my town for several days. Last week I was in survival mode trying to finish up a bunch of projects and set some goals for the new year. Then the website went down due to some hosting errors taking my focus away from my goals and adding a whole lot of stress to the weekend and my holiday preparations.

While the website was down I spent a few hours in the mountains on my skis thinking about the holiday season and what I could do this week to find a way to bring a little bit of peace and calm into the chaos.

As I was thinking about this, I realized that I’m probably not the only one whose sanity might be hanging on by a thread.

So here you go, a few thoughts on what we can all give ourselves for Christmas.

  • A good night’s sleep.

Last night I was in semi-freakout mode about some travel plans, a looming project that I didn’t get finished over the weekend, and two little boys who I love but sometimes make me question whether or not I’m doing this whole motherhood thing right. After talking to my husband about everything that was stressing me out I decided that the best thing to do was to just go to bed….at 8:00 pm. It’s amazing what a good night of sleep can do for the body and the mind. So give yourself permission to put on your comfy pajamas and head to bed early! If you’re so tired that you can’t seem to relax and go to bed early swap out the i-pad with a real book, sip a cup of chamomile tea, or take a soak in the bathtub with a few drops of lavender essential oil to relax.

  • A big drink of water.

For some reason it’s harder for me to drink enough water in the winter than it is in the summer even though I’m just as active, if not more. Maybe it’s the cold weather or that I’m just busy. Who knows, regardless I think we always feel much better physically and emotionally when we’re hydrated. Right now I’m really into adding sliced lemons, limes, oranges, blueberries or cranberries into my water for a little extra flavor and starting my morning with a steamy mug of hot water, freshly squeezed lemon, local honey and a dash of cayenne pepper. It’s delicious.

  • A walk outside.

My husband is really good at this, he’ll work in short 45-60-minute “bursts” and then go outside and walk around the block, or take a 15-minute break to shovel snow or run around the yard with the kids. Usually, I think about outdoor time in big 2-8 hour chunks but a little bit of fresh air and sunshine scattered throughout the day is just as important as those big adventures. It’s going to be a long day behind the computer today so I’m shooting for 5 mini doses of outdoor time and an outdoor adventure tonight to celebrate the Winter Solstice.

  • Permission to say “No.”

This is one that I really struggle with, all the time, not just during the holidays. I’m learning that I don’t need to say “yes” to every opportunity, I don’t need to say “yes” to every person who wants something from me, and I don’t need to say “yes” when someone asks if I’d like another cookie …(even if I want one 😉

  • A babysitter.

If you have kids it’s okay to spend 20 bucks on a babysitter so you can go to the grocery story without them. Or to the gym to workout. Or spend a few hours on your skis or snowshoes. Or go get your hair cut and colored. Or to the dentist office to get your teeth cleaned. Or just to a local coffee shop to read a book. Your kids will have fun with a babysitter and sometimes we all just need a little break from each other.  So, call that babysitter (or if you’re on a tight budget swap kids with a friend so you both get a little break) and plan a few hours just for you!

p.s. I’ve got a big announcement coming on the blog on January 1st. Can’t wait to tell you about it. Stay tuned!

5 free things we can give ourselves for christmas

What are you giving yourself for Christmas? Leave us a comment below.

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