30 Day Challenge: Stay Stress-Free For the Holidays

  • Copy by: Kristen Mitchell
  • Photography By: Danielle Moss and Alaina Kaczmarski
  • Sponsored By: Wacom

The holidays: arguably the jolliest—and busiest—time of year. Between shopping, party planning, cooking, and tying up loose ends at the office, it’s perfectly normal to feel burned out by the time break hits.

And while we’re all about making lists (and checking them twice), sometimes things get lost in the shuffle. Switching between our computers and iPads and iPhones is crazy enough—and if you’re anything like me, you struggle with the additional medium of pen and paper (it’s not real unless I physically write it down), hence the countless random to-dos sprawled across the pages of my notebook. It’s stress-inducing to say the least, and around the holidays, that stress only multiplies.

So we’ve partnered with Bamboo and we’re trying their Bamboo Slate smartpad to streamline our holiday lists and sync our personal and work lives in one easy step. Since becoming an adult, I’ve dreamed of being able to write in my notebook or planner with a pen and convert it to a digital file with the push of a button. The Bamboo Slate smartpad (alongside the Wacom Inkspace app) are game-changers for all you on-the-go multi-taskers: You can take notes on your favorite paper, and then synchronize, store, edit, and share your snippets (or sketches, if you’re into that) on any iOS or Android Bluetooth-enabled device. 

The mere existence of the Bamboo Slate has already inspired me to take the holidays by the reins (get it?) and make this month my most stress free yet. Here are some ways we plan on staying ahead of schedule in the 30 days leading up to the holidays, and we’re challenging you to do the same.

Avoid overbooking.

With all the excitement surrounding the holidays, it’s easy to say yes to all the parties, gift exchanges, and dinners. But remember: It’s called a holiday break for a reason—it’s an intentional interruption to the daily chaos of your life. This means you should allow yourself time to breathe (and binge on that Netflix series you’ve been dying to watch). 

How to: Pencil alone time into your calendar the same way you would pencil in a meeting, doctor’s appointment, or holiday party. This will hold you accountable, and ensure time to unwind is seen as an obligation instead of an option.

Stay on top of your gift list at home and on-the-go.

The holidays always add more bullet points to your to-do list—like the daunting process of finding the perfect gift. My biggest issue with staying organized around the holidays comes from all the random places I make lists: on my phone, in various notebooks, or, most frequently, on envelopes sprawled across my kitchen counter. These multiply when the holidays hit, so this year I plan on using my Bamboo Slate to streamline. 

How to: Designate one notebook as your go-to for all things holiday: lists, reminders, notes to self, etc. Using the Bamboo Slate, you’ll be able to sync your handwritten notes directly with your iPhone (or any iOS or Android device) so that gift list you made in your notebook on the couch is readily available in the app when you’re shopping Black Friday deals on-the-go. Check them off with the swipe of a finger in the app, and voilà: Gift lists made easy.

Keep things in check at the office.

When holiday cheer is in the air and the office is pulsing with the excitement of it all, it’s easy to get distracted. Keep yourself and your co-workers on track and engaged during meetings with your Bamboo Slate. Sadly, life isn’t like school, and it doesn’t consist of those glorious three-week breaks. The end of the year is an important time for most companies, so it’s crucial not to mentally check out due to your growing social calendar.

How to: Use Bamboo Slate’s ‘live mode’ during your team’s next creative brainstorm. By syncing the Bamboo Slate with an iPad and projecting it, the sketches in your notebook will be visible to everyone in the room. Better yet, you can convert those notes to an editable PDF in the Wacom Inkspace app, which you can then send to your team post meeting. 

Maintain a healthy diet.

As much as stress is an emotional state, it can be affected by what we put into our bodies. The better I eat, the better I feel. The holidays are full of temptations, and while it’s always a good idea to bake those seven batches of cookies for the office party, throw some healthier options into the mix as well.

How to: Try alternatives for the usual Christmas cookie culprits, like these paleo caramel apple gingersnaps, these chocolate chip pomegranate cookies, and these raw coconut and goji no-bake cookies. Survey the ingredients in your pantry, make a list of what you need using your Bamboo Slate, sync with your phone, and head to the store with a healthy checklist in tow. Your co-workers won’t even taste the difference, promise!

Start the party planning and gift buying process now.

It may only be November, but schedules book up fast with family obligations around the holidays, as will yours. There’s nothing more stressful than scrambling to put together a last minute soiree or running out to buy gifts in the final hour, so make a plan now to stay ahead of the curve. 

How to: Grab your favorite notebook and your Bamboo Slate, and use 10 minutes of your lunch break each day leading up to the holidays to tackle party planning and gift giving tasks. Maybe that means making a list of items you need to purchase, jotting down housekeeping to-dos, or compiling your favorite holiday songs for a playlist. Forget your notebook at the office? No worries! You’re synced with the Inkspace cloud (and Dropbox®, Evernote®, and OneNote®, if you’re so inclined), so notes go with you when you leave the office. 

We want to hear how you plan on staying stress free this holiday season, so share your tips with us in the comments below or tag us in your pictures and posts with the hashtag #TEG30DayChallenge. We’ll be re-gramming a few of our favorites along the way!

This post is sponsored by Bamboo, but the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.