December 10, 2014

6 Ways To Ensure The Holidays Are Merry And Bright

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Tips for Happy Holidays

This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own. Thank you for reading and I hope you’ll take some of these tips to make the holiday brighter.

Winter and “the holidays” start to take over our conversations as the year comes to a close. There’s lots of talk about food, activities, decorating, more food, ugly sweaters, cookies, lots more food, and the inevitable cancellation because someone is sick. Every year I vow not to get so stressed, and I learned a big lesson about that in 2013. So as winter and “the holidays’ come around for 2014 I want to share with you some healthy essentials to making this time of year more merry, happy, and bright.

1. Eat Breakfast – We all know what happens when mama is sick. Add to it trying to get everyone to wear matching clothes, having to bake 12 dozen cookies for the cookie swap, wrapping a present or two, and keep the kids busy while they’re off from school and there’s just no time in the schedule. I can go on and on about eating healthy and avoiding this food or that. But, how about we just eat. Something. Other than the cookies we’re baking. Starting with a real breakfast – whether it’s a power smoothie, a quick scramble, or even leftovers – is really what we need. Sure, grabbing a muffin on the go works in a pinch, but we’re worth that few minutes to have a real meal.

2. Go to bed at a decent time – See, I didn’t say at 8pm or 10pm. Just a decent time. I’m terrible about staying up late and trying to get all the things done that didn’t get done during the day. Then I’m dragging in the morning. We hustle to get the kids in bed so they get enough sleep, so they don’t get sick, so the jam-packed schedule isn’t sent into disarray. Yet we stay up. I tell you, that’s no way to keep things merry and bright (although some good concealer would help with the bright). Go to bed and if something has to give, then so be it. Chances are, though, you’ll be better prepared to take on the day when you’re rested. Think about it. Santa pulls ONE, JUST ONE, all-nighter a year and he manages to get everything done. The guy’s not up late 365. Embrace your inner Santa and go to bed!

3. Meditate – I’m not talking about communing with the monks or ohming yourself into a trance. I meditate every day. I’ve been doing this for most of 2014 and I find that my 20 minutes of guided meditation make a huge difference. When I’m feeling overwhelmed or rushed it’s nice to pop in the headphone, go to a quiet place, and tune out the world and all its busy-ness for a short time. Sure, locking yourself in the bathroom so you can check your email or just get away for a few minutes sounds great. But, let’s not kid ourselves. No one leaves us alone in there.

4. Be present – Invite friends over, turn off the tech and have a game night, snuggle up and watch a favorite movie, pile in the car and go look at holiday lights. Forget the list of things that have to be done, stop the multi-tasking, don’t keep checking Facebook to see what everyone else is doing. Be present. Being present is a gift to ourselves just as much as it is for the people we’re with. It’s so much fun to take photos and share them immediately, but sharing photos isn’t really all that fun if when you look back on them and you don’t have the 1,000 words to go with them.

5. Make memories – During the holidays we talk a lot about memories. I grew up with big latke parties, huge gatherings at the synagogue, singing, and every night rushing to light the menorah and say the prayers. Memories are what connect us to our past and keep us doing all the things we do for our kids (or grandkids). So we have to help them make their own memories. And when I think about it, rarely are the memories about specific items. They’re about feelings and emotions from shared experiences.

6. Give to others – While giving is a message we hear a lot during the holiday and winter seasons, it’s one of the easiest ways to incorporate good things for us, our family, and others all in one. The best thing is that it doesn’t have to be anything huge or elaborate. Drop a few coins in a donation bucket, take the kids to buy a gift from one of the angel tress at the mall, make cards to drop at a nearby senior center, tuck a positive note where someone will find it, or use your love of technology and Donate a Photo. Giving to others is such an amazing way to boost your own spirit. And it’s a wonderful teaching opportunity for our kids.

None of that seems too hard, does it? Sometimes we just need to see these things and realize we’re worth it. As a way to help you enjoy the holidays more, Johnson & Johnson wants to help you stock up on Healthy Essentials – or create a gift to donate – by helping you save up to $35 on your favorite products (like those Frozen Band-Aid bandages you know would make most any little girl squeal with delight!). Just visit the HealthyEssentials website to grab fantastic savings on those everyday essentials to keep your family healthy.

Sara

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