Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Did you do anything exciting? On Saturday I set a record for myself by running two races in one week! They were just 5ks and Saturday’s race was much more relaxed than Sunday’s, but despite the rain it was still a lot of fun.
Remember that eye twitch I mentioned on Friday? It finally seems to have chilled out. Nothing like constant face spasms to send you into a hypochondria-induced Google search, only to come to the very logical conclusion that you have Parkinson’s.
One thing I did notice was that whenever I was outside my eye twitch would go away. Being outside has always made me feel more at ease, regardless of whatever else is going on in my life. I absolutely love nature, and would one day love to have my own beautiful log cabin, hidden away somewhere in the wilderness.
I’m actually going to be taking a trip out into the wild today! But not the kind of wild that leaves me feeling energized and recharged.
No, this is the wild of Christmas shopping in the city.
I’m hoping that by heading out early enough I will miss a lot of the craziness. A couple of weeks ago I had a Friday evening off and thought it would be a great opportunity to hit the mall, completely forgetting it was Black Friday.
I stood in the middle of Bath & Body Works being tossed around by crazy shoppers as I stood staring at all of the overwhelming sales and promos. My biggest mistake was not having a plan, so I ended up picking up way too much stuff, only to tell the cashier I didn’t need 80% of it when it was actually time for me to pay.
So today I’m going in planned and prepared. I’m going to share some of the tips I’ll be following in the hopes that I can help you hang onto your holiday spirit (and your sanity) while you navigate the malls this holiday season!
So without further ado, here is your Holiday Thrive Guide, Shopping Edition.
1. Don’t go shopping hungry.
Remember how this was tip #1 for the Party Edition? That’s because when we allow hunger to rear its ugly head baaaad things can happen.
When you’re hungry you become far more irritable and can behave in a way that would make Santa put you on the naughty no questions asked. I know, because I’ve been there.
When you just can’t take the hunger anymore you’ll be far more likely to stop for something greasy yet seemingly filling from the food court. Chinese food anyone?
Or maybe you’re a little more health conscious, and you decide to stop by the smoothie bar for a “healthy” smoothie. Did you know that many of those smoothies contain up to 100 grams of carbs? With the majority of that coming from sugar?
Regardless of whether you opt for the greasy option or for the excessively sweet option, you’re going to suffer the consequences of the crash afterwards and spend the rest of your shopping trip feeling like a bag of crap.
Eat a balanced meal just before heading out consisting of protein, some healthy fats, and some veggies. Some grilled chicken with veggies sauteed in coconut oil, a giant green smoothie, or my latest fav, scrambled eggs and veggies with a banana and almond butter. Yum yum!
Then arm yourself with some healthy snacks you can grab when hunger attacks and you’re out and about. You’re too busy to waste time in the food court, so hang onto an apple, some homemade trail mix, or some energy bars that you can quickly devour before crossing everything off your list.
#2. Take it easy on the coffee.
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE having coffee while I’m out running errands. There’s something about a warm cup of coffee in hand while crossing things off the to-do list that is just so satisfying.
Except I tend to not skip my morning cuppa before having another large afternoon cuppa. And, let’s be honest, when you’re out Christmas shopping it’s only natural we opt for something like a Peppermint Mocha or Creme Brulee Late. Half sweet of course 😉
The problem with this though, besides the unnecessarily large quantities of sugar and fat in the latter two drinks, is the hormonal response that’s ignited by caffeine consumption.
While a little caffeine can help us become more alert, it can also stimulate that flight-or-fight feeling, something we don’t really need when we’re already in a stressful situation. With your cortisol on the rise from all that extra coffee, you’ll be far more likely to turn into the Grinch when a child starts screaming or someone tries to fight you for the last Frozen doll (is that what’s popular this year? I don’t even know).
#3. Turn your shopping trip into a workout.
You don’t necessarily have to do walking lunges around the store (however I won’t stop you if you want to!) but you can definitely get your fitness on while shopping for loved ones.
To begin with, park extra far away from the mall entrance so you have to make a bit of a trek to get there. If you live in the city like I do, try to leave the car at home and do all of your shopping on foot.
But I’ll have tons of bags to carry!
Even better! There’s your upper body workout. Ever heard of farmer’s carries? Do those with your shopping bags.
People cheering you on is optional 😉
Do calf raises while you wait in line to pay. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Do a few squats in a bathroom stall, no one will see! Pick a few things to do before you head out and stick to your plan!
#4. Go in with a plan of attack.
This might seem like a no-brainer to some, but I’ve spent years in the past just wingin’ it, and boooy was that ever stressful. This year things are different.
I know exactly what I need to buy for who, where I’m going to get it, and how I’m going to get there. I have my shopping trip laid out so I can hit all the stores I need in a sequence without having to backtrack.
A little anal? Maybe. But it’s going to save me time and a lot of frustration. Just like with meal planning, taking thirty minutes or so out of your week to map out all of your shopligations will save you a ton of time when you actually venture out.
#5. Do something nice for someone.
Ever notice how when you do something kind for another human being you instantly feel awesome?
The next time you’re out shopping and you feel like you want to strangle the next person that looks your way, do the complete opposite. Buy a coffee for someone. Offer to help an older lady with her bags. Spark some friendly chit chat with the person behind you in the seemingly endless line.
With all the chaos that tends to ensue this time of year, it’s easy to forget what the holidays are actually about. We all have different beliefs, but I can say with confidence that spending time with our loved ones & caring for our community are at the foundation of the holidays for many of us.
The material things, while nice in some respects, should really only be the after-thought of the holidays. Don’t stress out if you can’t find the “perfect gift”, or any gift for that matter. Memories aren’t made of the things we got or how stressed out our partners became while trying to find us presents.
They’re made of family gatherings, doing something nice for others, and they usually include some delicious eats as well 😉
I hope these tips help make your next Christmas shopping trip a little less scary! I skipped my morning coffee so I don’t become a caffeine-filled rage monster while I’m out today, and I’m looking forward to workin’ on the gun show while I lug shopping bags all over the city.
Does Christmas shopping tend to stress you out? Do you have any tips for keeping your cool you’d like to share?
Also, stay tuned for Friday’s post. I’ve got a fun challenge coming up that will help you keep those Christmas pounds at bay! 😉