What's in a Tradition? 15 Stories of Holiday Habits

by Amber Dickson
Holiday traditions
ShutterstockZivica Kerkez

Have you ever wondered why traditions are so prevalent and feel so important around the holidays? As it turns out, traditions reinforce important belief structures. They comfort us with a sense of belonging, and help us express gratitude! Traditions cement existing bonds, and create new ones. If those aren't reason enough for you to hop on board the Tradition Train, consider it this way: traditions usually involve food, and are usually just plain fun.

Christmas traditions vary in their details but the reasons behind them are remarkably similar. Read on for fifteen real-life stories on the importance of tradition, from my community to yours.           

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Save Money, Get Fit: How You Can Achieve Both Fiscal and Physical Fitness at the Same Time

by Amber Dickson
Yoga mat and participant
Photo: RawPixel/Pexels

Generally speaking, we all want to be physically healthier, and we all want to be more financially fit. Gains in both those spheres really boost our enjoyment of life, but attaining both those goals at the same time can seem intimidating. Can you save money and stay healthy? Do the two go hand-in-hand, or do they butt heads? Read on to learn about ways that will help you improve both your bodily and fiscal fitness. Put these tips into practice and reap two-for-one benefits!          

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How to Trick Yourself into Drinking More Water

by M.E. Gray
How to drink more water
Shutterstocksebra

I lived in Florida for about 10 years, so I am more than familiar with heat (and humidity!). When it's over 90º for 70% of the year, you learn how important it is to stay hydrated. Since moving to the Midwest where the temperatures are a little less dire, I've started slacking on my water game. My body isn't as loud when it tells me I need to drink more water. But being able to stay hydrated is so important, especially in these warmer summer months. I set out in the beginning of the year to make hydration a priority - it's actually the only New Years Resolution I can remember making, probably because I stuck with it! Here are a few ways that I'm keeping with my goal, and system you can use to teach yourself how to drink more water throughout the day.            

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How to Write a Meaningful Father's Day Card

by Amber Dickson
How to write a meaningful Father's Day card
Rawpixel/Shutterstock

If you find conquering the blank space at the bottom of a Father’s Day card daunting, you are not alone.  It can be difficult to express yourself even if you have an ideal relationship with your father or father figure, let alone one that is more complicated.  When you want to write something heartfelt but don’t know where to start, consider using one of these prompts:         

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9 Weird Ways to Make Your Coffee in the Morning

by M.E. Gray

9 weird ways you could be making your coffee in the morning

If I'm ever put in one of those awkward share-something-about-yourself scenarios, my default answer is to say: I love coffee. Because it's just so true. I love coffee which ever way it's prepared, and I feel like I'd tried them all... until I did a little research. It turns out there are a LOT of weird ways to make your coffee in the morning, from putting it in a sock to adding butter. Let me know in the comments if you've braved any of these weird ways to make coffee!

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It's Time to Banish This from Your Bedroom Once and for All

by M.E. Gray

Why having a technology-free bedroom will help you sleep schedule, you relationships, and your happiness

Each room of your home serves a specific purpose. The kitchen exists to nourish. The living room is there for relaxation. The dining room, for fellowship. And we don't need to go into the details of what the bathroom is for. But arguably the most important room of your home is the bedroom. It's your sanctuary, your safe space. It's the place where you go to lie unconscious for 6-8 hours in order to function properly as a human being! Since the bedroom's purpose is so different from that of the other rooms in the house, this room deserves a different set of rules. And there's one rule that a lot of us are guilty of breaking every day: No technology in the bedroom.       

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Trouble Sleeping? Here's the Trick that Works for Me, Every Single Time

by M.E. Gray

The one sleep trick I use to make myself fall asleep - it works every time!

I love sleep. My bed is without a doubt in the top ten list of my favorite places to be. I always thought I might grow out of it, but even as a twenty-something I require a solid 8 hours of sleep. Worse, if I get a late start going to bed, I always end up sleeping in. While I'm akin to a dead body all night, it's that getting-to-sleep thing that I get tripped up on. Anxious-minded people, where you at? If I ever can't seem to conk out fast enough, there's one trick I use that always gets me to sleep.      

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The Days After Christmas Should Be the Best Week of the Year - Here's How

by Rachel Jacks

And breathe

You've decked the halls, hung the stockings with care, wrapped and unwrapped the presents, and it's no wonder if you're all tired out. Hopefully now that Christmas is over you finally have a bit of time to relax. Maybe you already know exactly how you want to spend the week between Christmas and New Year's, but here are 10 ideas for how to unwind in case you've forgotten how.       

 

Christmas tree bath salts 7
Photo: Rachel Jacks

1. Take a long, hot bath. This is the perfect time to try out these Christmas tree bath salts, made from evergreen clippings that you can salvage from your tree, wreath, or garland.  

 

2. Have a home spa day. Pamper yourself with those deep conditioners and face masks that have been sitting in the back of your bathroom cabinet. It's a good way to clear them out so you can start fresh for the new year, with new products and a decluttered bathroom. If your cabinets are already clear, you could always try out some of the homemade beauty product ideas from this post

 

black framed eyeglasses on book page

3. Catch up on your (for fun) reading. If you're already caught up, scour the best-of-the-year lists, and make up your reading list for next year. 

 

4. Find a beautiful new calendar for 2019. There are lots of free printable ones, many of which you can find links to here

 

5. Declutter and organize a space. I know that this might not sound fun or relaxing to many of us, but you'll be glad to start the new year with one cabinet, closet, or whole room all tidied up. Find lots of closet organization ideas here, and plenty more general organization ideas here

 

6. Make something with your hands. Whether it's sewing, knitting, painting, woodworking, or sculpting with clay, tackle that DIY project you've been meaning to try.

 

7. Get some exercise. Move your body in whatever way that works for you. Walking, skiing, swimming, yoga, or even sledding with the kids all count. 

 

8. Connect with someone you've missed. If your best friend has been too busy to hang out during the holidays, catch up over a cup of tea. Or if you didn't get to see your out-of-town relatives or friends this year, pick up the phone and give them a call.

 

white printer paper beside pens

9. Write thank-you notes for holiday gifts. This may not sound fun and relaxing, but the sooner you get this done, the less you'll have to carry around the guilt about not having done it. Plus, if you really take the time to reflect about why you're writing each note, you can turn it into a mindful exercise in gratitude.

 

two male and female mannequin wearing clothes

10. Shop the post-Christmas sales. If you think that I must be crazy to suggest you go to the mall right now to relax (I agree), online shopping exists for a reason. But if you want to stock up on cheap holiday decor, or snap up deals on that beautiful sweater someone is returning because Aunt Zelda doesn't know their size, or they got three Instapots, now is the time to do it. 


10 ways to relax and unwind post-Christmas
Save these thoughts on Pinterest!

 

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How to Stay Present During the Holiday Season

by M.E. Gray
How to Stay Present During the Holidays
ShutterstockKatsiaryna Pakhomava

Despite what's depicted in Hallmark movies, the holidays can actually be a really stressful time of year. Not only that, but if you're not careful, added anxiety and pressure can cause you to miss the season all together. With Thanksgiving in the rear view and Christmas coming around the corner fast, how in the world are we supposed to stay in the present and enjoy what this season has to offer? While we may never regain the magic of the holidays that we felt as children (the whole no-Santa thing kind of ruins it, amiright?), there are ways to claim and nurture some new warm and fuzzy feelings. Here's how you can make the most of the season by soaking up the present.        

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23 Affordable Organization Products to Help You Live Your Best Life

by M.E. Gray
Affordable organization products from Amazon
Source

True story: I am a little obsessed with organization. I love my home when it's free of clutter, I do believe heaven is The Container Store, and I get a serious rush when I've folded all my t-shirts just right. Maybe I am a bit on the obsessive side, but I think we all can agree that a clean home is simply an easier one to inhabit. Whether you're feeling overwhelmed by junk, or you're already on a journey towards organizational bliss, this shopping guide is for you. Today I'm sharing a few of my favorite home organization products from Amazon, all of which are affordably priced.             

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Chill Out: Easy DIY Aromatherapy Eye Pillow

by Faith Provencher
Just Relax: Easy DIY Aromatherapy Eye Pillow
Photo: Faith Towers Provencher

I don't know about you, but I'm guilty of forgetting to take the time to chill out every now and then... I'm constantly trying to chip away at my to-do list, which doesn't leave much time for self-care. But lately I've been taking a few minutes every day to heat up and put on my new aromatherapy eye pillow, and it's been working wonders for my stress levels. Other eye pillow benefits? It's fantastic for headaches, and it's also a great solution for insomnia sufferers. Keep reading to find out how to make your own!   

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Going on a Road Trip? Don't Forget to Grab This from the Drug Store

by M.E. Gray

Going on a road trip? Don't forget to grab this from the drug store

There's a (younger) part of me that loves going on long road trips. I get excited about seeing new places, listening to hours of podcasts, drinking Red Bull - it's a freeing experience like none other. Then there's the (older) side of me that can only handle the open road for so long. Sore back, moody in traffic, yells at slower drivers, and seriously bummed out about how sticky everything feels after being in the car all day. While I can't...

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9 Tips for an Amazing (or at Least Tolerable) Road Trip with Your Pet

by M.E. Gray

Traveling with dogs and cats - 9 tips for a less stressful road trip

Pets. We love them, and sometimes when we're traveling, we don't want to leave them. Whether it's because your boarding situation isn't ideal, or you just can't imagine going on a vacation without them, you want to make sure you and your dog (or cat!) are prepared for a pleasant and non-stressful road trip. I've hit the road a few times with this furry lady pictured here, and after a few hundred hours in the car together, we've learned a thing or two. Here are some tips for traveling with dogs (and cats!) as you head out on your vacation this summer.             

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Why and How I Never Check Luggage, Even for International Trips

by Rachel Jacks

In the last five years or so, I've been fortunate to go on several international trips. Even though it would be free to check a bag on those flights, I never do, and it has saved me so much time and trouble that I can't imagine doing it any other way. If you're doing any air travel, internationally or not, I'm here to tell you why and how you should avoid checking luggage.          

 

Why to Avoid Checking...

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The One Thing You Might Be Doing Wrong When You Fly

by M.E. Gray

Flying tip

If you've ever flown on a plane, you're familiar with that groggy feeling that follows once you land. Your legs are wobbly, your stomach is churning, and you might even have a headache. Thousands of miles from home, you feel the opposite of refreshed. I recently took two trips in the same month, flying back and forth both times. The first trip was irritated by the long-lasting effects of flying. I was groggy and grouchy in the days following my flight. For my second trip, I changed one small thing in my routine. Even though I flew across two different time zones, I felt remarkably better during my second trip. My flying tip? It all starts with an empty bottle.          

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Travel Lighter: 10 Ways To Save Space In Your Suitcase

by Faith Provencher
Travel Lighter: 10 Ways To Save Space In Your Suitcase
Photo: Elliott Chau

I used to pack haphazardly and I'd end up coming home with a suitcase so stuffed that it felt like it might explode at any minute. But when I traveled to France for two weeks last summer, I did lots of research on how to travel lighter. And I haven't looked back since! Here are ten tips on how to save space in your suitcase so you don't have to check your bag at the airport or lug a hopelessly heavy bag around town.   

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