Dashing-through-the-mallThe temperature is low, but your stack of chores is high. Here are some effective ways to survive the holiday craziness without gaining weight or losing your hair.

Dash through the mall. Don’t stop exercising because you’re busy! Ten minutes of brisk walking will provide two hours of energy. Do something that brings a smile to your face…dancing to your favorite music, jumping rope, a bike ride, a fitness class…you get the idea.

My husband tells our friends that the main reason I jog is to socialize with Cheryl and Mary, my exercise buddies; he’s right! The other big reason I lace up before the sun comes out is because exercise helps me think clearly all-day long. When I get cranky, my daughter will shout “mom, please take a yoga class!”

“It is impossible to walk rapidly and be unhappy.” – Mother Teresa

Drink up…water that is. How much is enough?  Try to drink at least 60 ounces a day. One way to estimate is to drink from a reusable water bottle. My water bottle is 20 ounces … so drinking three bottles is my goal. If you start when you get out of bed, you’ll feel more energetic the entire day.

Don’t include alcohol, tea, coffee, and energy drinks in your calculations. Be smart; limit alcohol intake because it interferes with quality middle-of-the-night sleep and leaves you sluggish the next day.

Don’t get me started on energy drinks. One serving has as much as 14 teaspoons of sugar! This much sugar spikes our blood glucose level which boosts our energy … temporarily. The crash and the calories are just not worth it.

The caffeine and phosphoric acids found in soda leach the calcium from our bones.  The acids destroy tooth enamel. The sodium is bad for our blood pressure. The artificial colors and sweeteners are associated with many types of cancer. Yikes, pass the water pitcher please.

Eat often but watch your portion-size.  Yes, it’s best to graze. Eating 5-6 mini-meals keeps a steady flow of energy. For meals to last 2-3 hours, consider putting together a team that consists of fiber, carbs, protein, and healthy fats. My favorite breakfast is real oatmeal with one tablespoon of almond butter and a side of fruit. I fight the 2pm slump with baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, and hummus …20 seconds to “prep and bag” the night before.

“Eat little, sleep sound” – Iranian Proverb

Express your gratitude…often! Take time out of the holiday rush to tell those you adore how grateful you are for having them in your world. When we share these kind words, we give the recipient a gift they will have forever and warm our own heart too.  Be specific and sincere.

If you want to keep the love flowing, consider starting a family gratitude journal.  Keep a spiral notebook on the coffee table and each person can jot down what he/she is thankful for at any time of day. It’s really about the little things…the special note left in the backpack, the errand that someone took care of for you, and the hug that came at just the right moment.

Barter or hire. I have a lovely bartering agreement with my friends. Renee makes my curly hair look its best and I help her achieve her fitness goals. I’m so glad she suggested we do this.  Every two weeks Janet delivers the best unsweetened granola on the planet to our home. I happily trade her social media navigation.

There are tasks that come up now and then that just aren’t any fun. If you can barter or pay someone else to do a dreaded job, it may just make your day delightful.  (If not, just get it over with as painlessly as possible.)

Get some sunlight. Our energy levels are linked to the cycle of the sun.  We naturally have more energy during daylight. Ten minutes of direct sun exposure each day helps the body produce Vitamin D.

Sunlight improves our digestion, elimination, and metabolism. It encourages healthy circulation and enhances your immune system. It increases the oxygen in your blood. Getting enough sunlight during the day can help you sleep better at night. It also helps balance your hormones and lift your spirits.

Wear a fun scarf, silly socks, or both. How can you not feel energized in playful clothing? When I was a poor college student, my friends and I would give each other fun socks as gifts.  Years later the tradition continues! What are you wearing today? Silly adds pep to your step!