1. Reduce Sugar Use – Choose the recipe ingredients you use in your holiday baking wisely. Use natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, agave nectar or stevia extract instead of refined sugars. For recipe ideas, see my blog at www.realfastfood.blogspot.com
2. Plan Ahead – Stress is a major holiday bummer, not to mention a hazard to your health. Any preparation and planning you can do ahead of time will cut down on the last minute stress that the holidays can induce. Make a list and check it twice if you need to, so you stay nice throughout the holidays!
3. Take ME Time – We all need time to ourselves to do whatever makes us feel most content. Don't forget to schedule in at least an hour every week that is only for you. Do your most desired activity, whether that be taking a nap, a hot bath, making love or working out.
4. Be the Boss of the Cost – Don't get carried away on spending. Often the most treasured gifts are those that were the most thoughtful, not the most expensive. Gifts of homemade bread, treats or even frozen meals that your friends or family can pop in the oven and enjoy on a busy evening are bound to bring more holiday cheer than yet another pair of slippers.
5. Enjoy the Magic – Even if you don't have children, spending time with our families around the holidays can help us remember the magic of the season. Donating a bit of time or money to a worthy cause is another way to make your days merry and bright. If you have a talent or hobby, use it to share your gift with those around you.
6. Don't Panic – No matter how much it seems like everything has to be absolutely perfect when Aunt Gertrude arrives, remember that this is a time of love and sharing – not stressing and obsessing. No matter what she says about the color of your curtains or the dried out ham, let it slide off of you with a smile. Life happens, to all of us. And there is no reason you can't enjoy it anyway.
7. Make Your Own Tradition – Traditions are things we do each year because we look forward to them, not because it has always been so. Make up a new tradition with your family that you all will enjoy. One year my family made cut-out cookies, decorated them and drove around the neighborhood ringing doorbells and leaving plates of cookies on the front step. We called ourselves The Phantom Santa, and it was so much fun, we did it year after year.
8. Steer Clear of Excess – Whether it's drinking, indulging in sweets or excess shopping, don't let yourself go overboard just because its a holiday. All things in moderation is an excellent creed, any time of year.
9. Listen to Your Body – There is a reason we crave baked foods and rich flavors when the weather gets chilly. Our body knows that warming foods will nourish us more deeply than lighter dishes at this time of year. Allow your body to tell you what it is craving, and listen closely. You may be surprised that you are craving a big bowl of chili or some mashed potatoes, and not that second slice of cheesecake.
10. Stay Hydrated – Cold temperatures and dry heating systems literally suck the moisture from our skin and bodies. Be sure to carry your water bottle with you everywhere and drink water at least every half hour. Hydrate your lips and skin with natural products with as few ingredients as possible. Unrefined coconut oil is a great skin, hair and lip conditioner, and its sweet scent is deliciously soothing. Smooth unrefined coconut oil onto lips and skin. To condition your hair, warm the oil, then apply lightly from roots to ends. Wait 15 minutes to one hour, then rinse out with very warm water. Wash hair as you normally do.