5 Ways to Get Organized and Reduce Stress This Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

…Unless you easily get bogged down by the chaos that ensues during this incredibly busy holiday season.

We know the feeling of stress and overwhelm that can come along with attending holiday parties, shopping, making travel plans, and everything else that pops up during the holidays.

And these feelings can easily steal the joy out of what’s supposed to be a fun, exciting time of year with family and friends.

But, here’s the good news…we’ve also discovered the secret to not going crazy during this time of year…and it all has to do with organization!

The sooner you are able to get your ducks in a row, the more you’ll be able to enjoy the holidays. So, today, we’ve decided to share how to easily get organized for the holiday season.

Check out some of our favorite organization strategies…

#1. Use a calendar to clearly plan out all your events, vacations, etc.

The best way to get organized is to pull out a calendar. After all, there’s nothing worse than having to run out at midnight to grab cupcakes because you forgot about your kid’s school holiday party or accidentally double-booked your Saturday night plans because you have more than one holiday event to attend.

Whew, talk about stressful!

This year, hang a calendar in a common room for everyone to see. Mark the days you have plans so you can stay on top of what’s coming next on your schedule.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to schedule a few “relax days” when you do absolutely nothing. We promise, you’re going to need them! 

#2. Make travel plans early so you don’t have to stress about them.

Waiting last minute to do anything in regards to traveling can be a pain. For instance, when you don’t plan ahead, you might find yourself…

  • Paying more for travel expenses.
  • Settling for cheap hotels because everything else is booked up.
  • Having to endure long, stressful car rides because plane or train tickets are all sold out.

Don’t wait to reserve your hotel room until the night before you arrive in town. If you know you’ll be traveling for the holidays, get your plans together ASAP.

As each week goes by and we get closer to the end of December, it’s going to be harder and more expensive to book all your travel plans.

#3. Declutter your home.

The holiday season is also a gift giving season. And while there’s nothing wrong with spoiling your kids with a few new toys or accepting gifts from friends and family, the amount of stuff that accumulates in your home can easily become overwhelming.

This year, get organized by weeding through your stuff and getting rid of what is not needed. Or better yet, put together some gently used clothes, pieces of furniture you don’t use, or other household items, and donate them to those who are in need.

To keep your home from filling back up with stuff, ask friends and family who feel the need to give you a gift to send a donation to a charity of your choosing.

#4. Purchase staple holiday foods/baking supplies in advance.

Nothing says the holidays quite like a tray of freshly baked Christmas cookies or a turkey cooking in the oven.

Having to run out to the store to buy eggs every time you get inspired to make some cookies certainly takes the joy out of baking!

This year, put together a list of the foods and desserts you want to make…and do your shopping ahead of time. This way, you can stock up on the materials you’ll need to cook and bake.

If you’re hosting a turkey dinner, buy your turkey early and keep it in your freezer. Planning on making several batches of cookies? Buy lots of butter and then freeze it. You get the idea!

The best part…frozen items, canned goods, and a lot of baking supplies (flour, salt vanilla extract, etc.) will keep for months! If you don’t use all your supplies for the holidays, keep them on hand, and you can use it throughout the year.

#5. Be realistic about your holiday commitments.

Last but not least, we encourage you to be realistic about your holiday commitments.

It might seem like a good idea to say yes to everything at the time, but several weeks later when you’re running from a party to a holiday parade to dinner at your Aunt Barbara’s house, you’re probably going to regret it.

Organize your time wisely. Don’t schedule too many activities for one day. And be okay with saying no to the things you don’t want to do.

How do you stay organized during the holidays? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Keep the Weight Off During the Holidays

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Do you hear that?

The holiday season is officially upon us, and with the holidays come the sugar and fat!

This time of year brings so many good things: time with family and friends, fun events, and time off from work and school.

Unfortunately, this time of year can bring some less pleasant things, such as a few unwanted pounds.

With so much food temptation surrounding us this time of year, it can be difficult not to indulge and pack on weight as a result.

In this post, we’re sharing a few tips to help you keep the weight off this holiday season, despite the temptations that lurk around the corner.

Eat before you go to parties

Fill up on healthy snacks before you head to holiday parties, and vow to skip the calorie-ridden appetizers. When your stomach is growling, it’s more difficult to keep yourself from making poor food choices.

Bring a dish

If it’s a potluck holiday meal, bring a healthy option that you can enjoy minus the guilt. This way, you know there will be at least be one thing you can enjoy—and we bet the other guests will be happy about being offered a healthy alternative as well!

Be the host

If you’re really trying to prevent holiday weight gain, the best way to take control of the food options is to host the party.

There are so many healthy twists to your favorite holiday recipes. Just a few substitutions can make a huge difference! The dishes are still so delicious, but won’t set you back a few pounds.

Fill up on protein and veggies

When it comes to filling up your plate with delicious holiday food, opt to first fill up the majority of your plate with protein and vegetables. Next, you can add small portions of other less-healthy dishes.

Indulge a little

It’s the holidays! Some of these amazing foods only come around once a year. Figure out which food choice you would be disappointed not to enjoy, and allow yourself to enjoy it at your holiday feast.

Send home the leftovers

Especially at Thanksgiving, the majority of the weight-gain damage doesn’t happen the day of—it’s eating all of the leftovers the following week! Send those leftovers home with family and friends to avoid the temptation.

Have more ideas for keeping the weight off during the holidays?

We’d love to hear in the comments below!

Resolutions 101: How to Actually Keep Your Resolutions This Year

8242590657_89f52abeee_oDon’t shoot the messenger, but it’s that time of year again. You know what I’m talking about—it’s time to make this year’s New Year’s Resolution. Before you start groaning about resolution failures of years past, we are here to help. We have set up 4 methods to SUCCEED this time.

Honestly, this time of year can be really refreshing. It’s a whole new start. If you had a not-so-stellar last year, here’s your chance to shake it off (excuse the Taylor Swift reference) and be a new and improved you!

Make It with a Friend

When someone else is holding you accountable, it’s much easier to stay motivated. Choose a friend who has a similar goal, and be each other’s support group! If your resolution is to go to the gym 3 times each week, going together will raise the odds of sticking to your mission. The two of you could even come up with a rewards system. After 4 weeks of going to the gym 3 times a week, treat yourselves to a mani/pedi or a round of golf!

Make It Realistic

Did swearing off all foods except fruits and vegetables not turn out how you planned last year? Make this year’s resolution something that is challenging but still maintainable with your lifestyle. Instead of giving up everything, try eliminating just soda and sugar from your diet. And what happens if you blow it on week 2? DON’T STOP, just because you feel defeated! Realize that there may be slip-ups, but what matters is getting back on track right away.

Make It New

Have you not succeeded with the same resolution year after year? Get creative! Your resolution doesn’t always have to be about dieting or exercising. It can be as simple as vowing to be more patient with your in-laws (easier said than done!) or even keeping up with old friends. Choosing something you’ve never done before can help shake things up and help make your goals feel attainable.

Make It Your Own

Who says your resolution has to start January 1? Actually, that may not the best day to start a lifestyle change. If you’re a little under the weather from the parties the night before or if you still have a lot of holiday food lying around, you’re not setting yourself up for success. Choose a date like January 2 or the day you go back to work to start your resolution, so that you’re prepared and in a positive mindset.

Have a New Year’s Resolution Success Story? We’d LOVE for you to share it on our Facebook page!

Holiday Stress Getting to You? Here’s Our De-stressing Tips

8179594890_3fb4115dc8_mBetween all of the holiday shopping, decorating, parties, getting your house ready for guests, and wrapping galore, it’s easy to lose your mind during the holiday season.

As fun and exciting as this time of year can be, let’s face it…sometimes you just want to scream: “I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!”

Instead of telling you to just breathe—which might make you more stressed—we’re sharing our tips of how to keep the holiday stress from getting to you. Try these ideas to help you re-center, and remember that this season is a magical time of year to reconnect with family and friends.

Give Yoga a Try

Yoga improves your mind, benefits your body, and balances your spirit. Because yoga involves a series of poses while in a flow-like state, you strengthen your mind as you work out your body (talk about a win-win!).

Yoga benefits your mind, by teaching you how to breathe deeply and slowly. Unlike short and nervous breathing, long and controlled breaths train your brain to focus on consistent thinking. If you feel as if you’re constantly distracted, a yoga session will bring attention back to your inner thoughts. Because yoga puts you in a state of calm and control, you become more familiar with your body’s way of coping with stress. And let’s be honest, we could all use some self-centering during the holidays.

Enjoy a Spa Day

Muscles tightening up to the point where you feel “locked up” in certain positions? We know how it feels. Stress can lead to physical pain, especially in the neck and shoulders. Before the pain becomes unbearable, there’s something you can do to “reset” your body and mind: visit a spa! What’s the harm in getting treated like a King or Queen for a while? Gift yourself this season with a relaxing massage or facial!

Snuggle Up with a Mug of Hot Cocoa

On a tight budget after buying all of those holiday gifts? Sometimes curling up with a blanket and mug of hot cocoa, while watching your favorite holiday movie, can be just as good for the soul as therapy! Some of our favorites: Elf, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Polar Express. Don’t forget the marshmallows!

What’s Your Favorite Part of the Holidays? Share Below:

Charleston Events to Get into the Holiday Spirit

poinsettasThe holidays are a special time of year—there’s nothing like that indescribable magic in the air. From the Christmas lights to festive store displays, and the carolers and holiday parties to playing dreidle and lighting the menorah, there’s just a different feeling that comes with December.

To help you get into get into the holiday spirit, we’ve compiled a list of holiday events in the Charleston area to get you and your loved ones feeling jolly!

December 2-5: Winter Wonderland

This free pre-school event provides young children an opportunity to visit Santa, participate in hands-on activities, including holiday arts and crafts, and take part in live performances and music.

Here is more information on dates and times.

December 6: Christmas Festival and Parade

Looking for fun holiday family activities? The Christmas Festival is the perfect event! It includes a Holiday Market with children’s activities, craft and food vendors, and live musical performances on two stages.

The Christmas Parade begins at the corner of Montague and Mixson Avenues, proceeds down Montague, around Park Circle, and concludes at Armory Park. Immediately following the Christmas Parade, Mayor R. Keith Summey and Santa Claus will light the City’s Christmas tree located outside the front entrance of the Felix C. Davis Community Center.

Here is more information on the date and time.

December 12 & 19: Visit with the Clauses

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus! After visiting with the Clauses, enjoy live entertainment and fun holiday activities provided by community groups. A great event to create memories with your family!

For more information, visit their site.

December 14: 19th Annual Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting

Charleston is all about tradition, and this parade is a holiday favorite every year! More than 100 floats will march down Coleman Boulevard as the Mount Pleasant Christmas Light Parade sets sail to the delight of thousands of residents and visitors! The tree lighting and fireworks display begin at approximately 5:30 p.m. at Moultrie Middle School, immediately followed by the parade beginning at around 5:45 p.m. 

Here is more information on the date and time.

December 18: Men’s Shopping Night

Were you in the doghouse after last Christmas? This event provides gift counseling, personal shopping, and ideas for the special woman in your life. A great night with refreshments and Christmas shopping tailored to men!

Visit the site for more information.