The holidays are an exciting, wonderful and busy time. With tree decorating, gift giving, carol singing and hot cocoa drinking it’s a magical time of the year to spend with loved ones.

As lovely as this period is, routine and time management tends to be at serious risk of going out the window and into the snow! On top of all your regular commitments and responsibilities – cooking, cleaning, looking after the family – there are always extra things to do at holiday time. You might be shopping for presents, packing for a trip away or maybe preparing a spare room for visitors, while decorating the house and infusing everything with holiday cheer. It can get a little bit overwhelming at times.

We all need routine. We thrive on it. We like to know what’s coming next. That’s just human nature. It makes life easier to manage when you know exactly what time you have to be at work, exactly how much time you have to cook dinner, exactly when your hubby will be home, exactly when your weekly pilates class is and so on. But when pilates is on break, hubby is taking time off work, and you have all these extra tasks to tick off your list, your routine is thrown off. So how do you maintain it? Here are a few common-sense pointers for maintaining routine during the busiest time of the year.

Accept it. Your regular routine won’t work for you right now and that’s OK. Don’t try to fit a square routine into a round routine hole. Your regular work/home/pilates regimen can’t always be maintained. The first step is acceptance. You won’t be able to go to pilates every tuesday because it’s not on. You may not get to bed at the exact same time because you’re at a Christmas party having fun with your loved ones. Don’t get yourself down about it.

Set up a holiday routine. If you need to have something that’s consistent day in and day out during this time then put in place a more flexible routine that allows you to take care of your health. What are the things that are important to you, that you feel like are getting ignored because your routine is off? Exercise? Meal preparation? Making time to have a special dinner with hubby? Whatever it is, you won’t be necessarily able to do those things at the same times or in the same ways as before but you can fit them in in other ways. Break them down into manageable chunks. Can you spare 15 minutes in the morning? Do some exercise them. Incorporate meal prep into your holiday cooking. Decide what those important things are and slot them into your day where you can – they don’t always have to happen at the same time every day.

Don’t forget your mental health. The holiday season can be crazy and it can be easy to lose sight of what it’s all about – togetherness, peace and love. The shopping for presents and attending Christmas parties seems really important. So does keeping up exercise and diet. Plus don’t forget making time for your holiday visitor. But what’s the point of pushing through any of that if you’re feeling lousy? Make time to check in with yourself every day and keep things in perspective. Meditate for just 10 mins a day, set an alarm on your phone for several times per day to remind you to take some deep breaths and check in with yourself. Make this a part of your holiday routine.
The most important thing during the holiday season is to have your loved ones in your heart. So try to understand what stresses you out and manage it well (you can read some tips on that here). Keep up a holiday routine if it helps and just remember to have a fun, safe and happy Christmas and New Year!

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