Holy moly, the holidays are HECTIC!

Every year I so badly want to embrace the joy of the holidays.  Yet I end up feeling overwhelmed with last minute shopping, and running around like a crazy person (packing to get 3 kids out the door is a job in itself).

The playpen, party clothes, play clothes, snowsuits, toothbrushes, sleep buddies, Sienna’s medicines…and then there’s my own stuff.  We’re living out of a suitcase for a week.  If I forget anything we’re out of luck.

While we’re not travelling across the country, we do drive an hour to Nonna and Nonno’s house.  And then on Christmas morning we get back in the Honda Odyssey to visit Nana and Papa. Then off to my parents for more celebrations.

In just a few days, we’re on the road for at least 6 hours (with 3 overtired, overstimulated children).

One day, when our home is large enough to host 30 people for dinner, we can hopefully stay put in Toronto.  But for now, it feels like the National Lampoon’s vacation!

Yet despite all the complaining above, this holiday the insanity hasn’t been so insane.

I’ve been reflecting on why I feel so much more calm and realized there were a few things I’m doing to keep me sane, happy, and in CONTROL as a mom of three.   Here are 12 holiday hacks that make the days more enjoyable, and help me feel GREAT in the process.

In the Mornings:

I Drink Garlic Lemonade. Everyone is getting sick around us.  So far we’re surprisingly sniffle-free and I want keep it that way!  So I guzzle a litre of this immune-boosting tonic when I feel the sneezes or sore throat coming on.  And sometimes the kids join me in having our “superpower tea”.  Here’s the recipe (note: I tend to use less honey).

Garlic lemonade

I Move for 20 Minutes.  I know. Gifts need to wrapped, cookies need to be baked…but I feel so much better when I do something active first thing in the morning (before the unexpected interruptions happen).  Keith bought me this Power Guidance travel workout set that I keep in the car for some muscle-building exercises.  I also love the Nike app because I don’t have to think about what to do (they have fantastic 15-20 minute workouts).  Best case scenario, I get out of the house for an uninterrupted sweat session!

mom workout

I Do My 5 Minute Journal.  I wish I was one who could pull off an hour meditation, but I can’t find the time or patience for it (even knowing all the benefits).  But I needed something to help me set the right intention for the day.  Something that only took minutes.  This 5 minute journal makes a BIG difference in my day (and what I need to do to make it great).  In fact, I love doing it with the kids as a gratitude exercise during this time of year.

5 minute journal

During the Day:

We Do the Kindness Calendar.  I was getting frustrated with the holidays becoming all about the presents, and wanted my girls to focus on what’s more important. Being kind to themselves and others. This advent calendar (My Kindness Calendar) has been an amazing tool that is prompting positive conversations and activities at home.  The girls are proud to announce something kind they are doing each day.

Kindness Calendar

I Don’t Watch The News. With so much negativity in the news these days it gives me anxiety.  Another form of stress (when we have enough of it in our lives) that spikes our cortisol and wreaks havoc on our bodies (our weight, immune system, and overall health).  I need to step away and take in all the goodness around me.

At Meals:

I Fuel My Family.  I know the gingerbread and holiday treats can be a little much. Well, these are the 5 holiday hacks I use to make sure my kids eat better.

I Eat PFC Every Three Hours.  Not KFC!   PFC = Protein – Fat – Carbs.  When you combine all 3 macronutrients at your meals and snacks it helps keep your blood sugar stable.   Don’t just have an apple or a cookie (because you’re saving yourself for the big meal). The carb alone with send your blood glucose way up and way back down – to the point where your body will crave cookies and sugar more than normal.

I Put My Fork Down Between Bites. Or at least I try to remember to do so!  I’m a foodie and get a little too excited seeing the yummy nibbles.  So instead of shovelling food in

I Bring the Superpower Foods Placemat…everywhere.  There’s always new foods present at holiday parties so I bring enough mats for the littles to explore foods they wouldn’t try otherwise.  This game-changing mealtime tool works like a charm!

Superpower Foods Placemat

At night:

We Watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”.   Because life is wonderful!  And these feel good movies make me feel so good (and teach the kids a few life lessons at the same time).

I Sip Egg Nog.  That is, my nutritionist-approved version that ACTUALLY tastes good.  As a kid I thought egg-nog was healthy.  Ha!  Have you seen how grams of sugar are in those cartoons!? But it’s so darn delicious I can’t go without it.  This vegan egg nog will be sipped as I celebrate the holidays.

I Play Boardgames.  As a busy mom I realize I need to laugh and play a lot more, instead of always trying to manage the household.  When I’m with family during the holidays we play A LOT of boardgames – it feels good to feel like a kid again!  One of my favourites this year is Code Names.

Next Year:

I Reboot My Health:  Every year, once a year, I run the Energy Reboot for Tired Parents.  You probably don’t think twice about investing in your child’s wellbeing, but when it comes to your health, it goes on the back burner.  You always have the best intentions, but months go by and you haven’t changed anything you planned to. You just need healthy habits you can stick with.

Join us on January 13th to reboot your energy, reduce your stress, improve your strength, and feel freaking fabulous by Valentine’s Day.

(note: The Energy Reboot only happens once a year. Get 70% off until Boxing Day!)

Whatever you do, wherever you are this holiday, I hope it’s wonderful. You deserve it.