3 Ways I’m Staying Sane this Holiday Season

Holiday stress is real and can be intense, but that stress obviously looks a lot different this year, as do most things in a pandemic. While there might not be as much family pressure or overextending yourself with events (quite the opposite, actually), I personally feel a different kind of pressure about making the holiday fun and perfect for my family, especially Amalia.

A lot of my tips for beating holiday anxiety from last year still hold true, but this time around, I’m doing a few extra things to stay sane this holiday season.

As of right now, our plan is to be home for Christmas and New Years’ and we hope to drive up to New Hampshire after Christmas to visit my dad if it feels safe and we can all get tested. But as we did with Thanksgiving, we’re taking it day by day and just doing what feels the safest for our family. Spending Thanksgiving with just the three of us was so much more fun than I had thought it would be and Amalia had the best long weekend ever!

But we’re all off of school and work for 11 straight days during the holiday break, and any parent knows, that is a longggggg time to be at home with your spouse and child without much to do. So I’m putting some action items into place to take care of myself during that time:

1. Do something every day that’s just for me: Some days that might be watching Netflix in bed with a box of cookies (aka my entire first trimester). Other days that might be reorganizing my sock drawer because weird stuff like that gives me major satisfaction. I just finished my first 1000-piece puzzle and sitting down to work on it with Anel and a cup of tea was something I looked forward to every night after we put Amalia down.

I’ve never been a puzzle person, but this one came in a press box, and Anel suggested we try it. I ended up finding it very meditative. I just bought this one that matches the Gray Malin print in our living room and plan to work on that over the holidays.

This post is in partnership with Summersalt so I’ll share my ideal outfit along with each tip. For puzzling, it’s 100% their cashmere-blend sweater and joggers which is like wearing a luxury blanket. Anel calls it my grey suit. Amalia says it’s comfy for cuddling. I call it a slice of heaven. Tomato tomahto.

Use code LEMONSTRIPES10 for a $10 gift toward any purchase at Summersalt!

Cashmere Blend Sweater and Joggers (both gifted) / Puzzle

2. Prioritize my physical health

This is important for me in pregnancy in general but I can get particularly lazy over the holidays and indulge in lots of extra treats. My pregnancy food philosophy is to eat what I want when I want it, but also try to ensure that I get as many nutrients from food as possible. So if I’m craving a creamy soup, I’ll look up a recipe for a blended cauliflower soup to get extra veggies in.

I’ve been stocking my fridge with lots of fresh fruits and veggies that I precut and put in Tupperware for easy snacking. This is great for Amalia too!

As far as exercise goes, I workout once a week with one of Anel’s trainers and then walk for at least 30 minutes/day. I plan to keep that up over the holidays. If I overdo it, I get drained and am basically worthless for the rest of the afternoon, but I need to get out and walk at least once a day for sure.

For walking, I’ve been living in Summersalt’s leggings from their new activewear line. I love them as much as I love the brand’s swimsuits. They’re very soft but thick enough to feel supportive. And they’re high-waisted so I can wear them over my growing bump. I highly recommend a pair!

Fleece Pullover, High Rise Leggings, and Scrunchie (all gifted)

3. Allow time for rest:

This is the hardest one for me. Relaxing is not my strong suit and never has been. I like to have projects going on, either at home or for work, at all times. But pregnancy forces me to slow down and I’ve realized that it’s a good thing to not be on-the-go 24/7. Staying in a cozy set of PJs until 3 pm isn’t the worst thing in the world! In fact, it feels really good if I lean into it.

All Day and Night PJ Set (gifted)

Photos by Julia Dags. Thank you to Summersalt for sponsoring this post. All opinions, as always, are 100% my own. Use code LEMONSTRIPES10 for $10 off any purchase at Summersalt!


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  1. Jennifer M Record said:

    1. I become so obsessed with finishing a puzzle, that I drop everything else to complete one.. I had to cut myself off last spring!
    2. I LOVE the wreaths hanging off your island stools!!! links?
    3. those pjs look super comfy!
    hope you and baby are feeling good!

    12.8.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      1. Same. Anel was so annoyed lol.

      2. They’re from Brooke & Lou: https://bit.ly/39WzoLR

      3. They are!

      4. We are, thank you!

      12.10.20 · Reply
  2. Cait G said:

    How did you keep your toddler away from the puzzle?!? My three year old always tries to “help” so I’ve been trying to find a way to store the puzzle between evening sessions. Tons of good storage ideas online, but was curious if you had this issue and the way you solved it?

    Also: I’m due next week with Baby #2. And love both puzzles and getting lots of outdoor time during this very unusual pandemic-pregnancy time. Really enjoy following you and your family. Best wishes to you for a happy, healthy pregnancy!

    12.8.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I was VERY strict with mommy’s puzzle. She knew 🙂 She tried touching it a few times and I told her Santa was watching. Worked like a charm lol.


      12.10.20 · Reply
  3. Libby said:

    Puzzles are the best, haha. During graduate school, I always had one going and put a few pieces together to take a brain break. Very meditative indeed! I just got a really cute one of Central Park in winter/christmastime, and cannot wait to get it going 🙂

    12.8.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Fun! I am excited to start my next one too.

      12.10.20 · Reply