Friday Five: Five Ways To Stay Happy During the Holidays

Hi everyone!  Thanks for your kind words on my last post.  Being injured is tough but I’ve made it to the end of the week and haven’t gone crazy yet from my lack of running.  I’m feeling optimistic that I’m making progress towards running again soon!  On that note, it’s Friday and that means it’s time for another Friday Five linkup with Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney.  Their theme for the week is “Five Ways to Stay Healthy during Holidays”, but I’ve decided to tweak it a bit.  If you’re a long time reader, you’ll remember that last year was a really tough holiday season for me.  I had just moved to Anchorage and was starting a completely new life, and I was unable to go home for the holidays.  I think I spent every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas fighting through tears, exhaustion, and a sadness I couldn’t shake.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I was dealing with a wicked case of Seasonal Affective Disorder from my lack of sunshine and Vitamin D mixed with lots of homesickness during my first Christmas away from home.  I couldn’t begin to focus on being healthy during the holidays when I was feeling so sad.  Which is crazy to think about because the holidays are my favorite time of year and I look forward to them all year long!  This year I’m totally settled in and loving Alaska, and I’M GOING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!!!  But I’m still going to need to focus on staying happy and healthy through the darkest and busiest month of the year.  So for today’s post, I’m going to change it to be all about staying HAPPY during the holidays!

happy during christmas

1. Keep up your usual routine.  It’s tempting during the holidays to totally change up or push aside  your usual workout and meal routines – I mean, you’ve got so many parties, events, and gatherings to attend!  But keeping up your usual routine will help you feel normal and in control during a typically busy and stressful time of year.  For me, taking a Vitamin D supplement has been a year-long part of my routine as a constantly Vitamin D deficient Alaskan.  If I forget to do this during the dark winter I can actually feel it!

2.  Treat yo self!  If you spent hours baking that perfect pumpkin cheesecake, eat a piece.  Just bought gifts for everyone on your list?  Buy something for yourself too!  There seems to be a focus on appreciation and gifting for other people, but we need to turn that back on ourselves sometimes.  And I’m going to be thinking outside the box with this one too – like gifting myself a pass to my favorite yoga class at the best yoga studio in town after I’m done with all my Christmas shopping.

3.  Take lots of “me” time.  I find that the holiday season is filled with lots of people rushing everywhere.  That is so not my scene!  I like to take a little time each day just for myself, which really keeps me sane.  This can come from lost of things – going for a run, taking your favorite workout class, reading a book, or even taking a nice long bath.  This year, I’m hoping to take it up a notch and start a daily 5 minute meditation routine!  I can’t imagine how much calmer my mornings will be if I start the day out with a focus on me instead of all the things I have to do.

4.  Try new things.  There’s lots of amazing holiday activities going on out there, and even with all the things you have to do each holiday season there’s always time to try something new!  A few years ago I fell in love with doing ugly sweater races, and last year I tried to cheer myself up on Christmas by going on a Christmas Day hike in the snow.  This year I plan on going to the Anchorage tree lighting ceremony downtown, ice skating on Westchester Lagoon, and maybe finding some real reindeer to visit!  I mean, they actually do live here  🙂

5.  But remember to do all your favorite things too!  The holidays are a time of tradition and memories, and it’s important to take time to do some of your favorite holiday things.  For me, that’s decorating the tree on the day after Thanksgiving, driving around town looking at fun Christmas lights, making my dad’s almost-famous chocolate chip cookies, listening to non-stop Christmas music, and falling asleep under the lights of the Christmas tree.  I’ve had to make some of my own Christmas traditions throughout the years but some things will never change!  These are the things that truly make me feel happy during the holidays.

IMG_3530Putting the star on our first Alaskan Christmas tree last year!

What do you do during the holiday season to stay healthy and happy?  What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

27 thoughts on “Friday Five: Five Ways To Stay Happy During the Holidays

    1. You’re definitely lucky! My husband is Jewish so I get the chance to celebrate both holidays, and hanukkah is so much easier. And I’m totally afraid of matches too!

  1. Yay!!! so happy you are going home for Christmas!! I remember last year being rough for you. Great tips for being happy! Of course I especially love treat yo’self (and actually had that on my list but changed the title last minute. LOL)

    1. I can’t wait to get home for a few weeks! And I love that you basically had that on your list too. It’s the best advice!

  2. #1. I got up every morning at 6am though I am sick (flu and cold like to have a non stop party)
    #2. I will treat myself with new running shoes tomorrow (Newcastle I come)
    #3. My only “me time” is at 6am when I go for a run
    #4. Not sure about “new things”, I don’t have much spare time
    #5. Favourite things… hmmm…. I am a sitcom junkie, does that count?!
    I love all holiday seasons, because that means, my older children can look after the younger one while I am running!
    But when it comes to christmas, every year on christmas day, I go for a early run because the streets are so quiet and empty!

    1. Yay for new running shoes! And I love that running is your “me” time. That’s how I am too! And I love that idea of running early on Christmas. If I’m back to running by then I’ll make sure to do that!

    1. I mean, that’s probably a solid rule. I’m probably not supposed to buy anything just in case someone else is buying it for me. But I can’t resist a good sale!

  3. holidays away from home are tough! my first year here, i couldn’t afford to fly back to california, so i had to spend christmas alone. what helped me was doing my normal traditions as much as i could. my family set up a laptop on my spot on the couch at home, and i got to be part of the circle of opening gifts through skype, and then i made myself our traditional breakfast. it totally helped, and then i spent that night treating myself to a movie. BUT i also now know that it’s worth it to save up all year to fly back, because christmas alone isn’t very fun!

    1. Oh I totally did the same thing with my laptop last year! We opened presents together and then we all cried a lot. It was awful. We’re spending a lot but it’s totally worth it!

  4. Great tips. Keeping as much of a routine as possible helps and the “me” time is important as well.

    Have fun traveling back home (I’m sure you will).

  5. Wohoo, so happy you get to go home this Christmas!! I totally understand being homesick! Thanks for these tips, they are super helpful. I think many of us forget to rest, and treat ourselves during this hectic time of year.

  6. I am looking forward to decorating the day after Thanksgiving as well! And thanks to reading this post, I am now listening to Christmas music and looking for tickets to the Nutcracker haha.

  7. I find I have a problem with seasonal depression during this time of year myself, so these tips are great to read. It’s always hard when it suddenly gets so cold and so dark and there are so many obligations at the same time.

    1. It’s so hard. I totally underestimated the effect of shorter days on my body. I definitely suggest Vitamin D supplements – they help me a lot!

  8. We go for a family walk on Christmas day…it’s so nice to be outside when almost everyone else is inside still. Last Jan 1st, we started a new tradition of running our first kilometres with our daughters – looking forward to doing that again!

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