Schedules and consistency easily go out the frost-covered window once you start feeling the holiday spirit. When you’re in the thick of planning holiday parties, shopping for the perfect gifts for everyone on your list, and turning your home into a cozy winter wonderland with a collection of DIY decorations, it’s easy to forget to do the things you usually do to feel healthy, calm, and just generally on track with life. If you think this is just part of the fun, you might want to think again.

Talking about routines might be a lot less fun at this time of year than discussing festive outfits and potluck recipes, but staying at least a little on track with your usual habits and schedules can make or break your season. “Having daily routines is very important for your body to help manage your circadian rhythm, regulate your hormones, and keep your body balanced,” says Be Well health coach Katie Ulrich. “During times of chaos, it is even more important to try to stay committed to your routines so your immunity stays strong and your body stays resilient to the holiday madness. This will ensure you can be fully present with your loved ones and not feel exhausted or burned out.” We’ve put together some specific tips that will help you balance your regular routine with the holiday revelry.

A woman lays on her back to read by candlelight

1. Maintain your bedtime. You might be tempted to stay up until all hours squeezing in every last holiday TV special or wrapping all of your gifts in one night, but it’s best to resist the urge. Even when you have a holiday party on the schedule, Ulrich tells us you should stay as close as possible to your usual bedtime. This will make it easier for you to wake up on time, which will make the rest of your daily routine flow more smoothly. Dietitian and women’s fitness specialist Beth Auguste suggests setting a daily alarm or reminder on your phone to help you stay accountable for bedtime.

2. Mark out a morning routine. If your November and December days start positively with consistent, energizing mornings, you’ll set yourself up for success going forward. You can consider adding some meditation or journaling to your AM schedule to help you be a little more mindful in the chaos — but if that’s not your thing, you can still strive for reliable wake-up, breakfast, and exercise routines. “This way, no matter what comes up the rest of the day, you know you started out in a positive and healthy way,” encourages certified life and nutrition coach Jen Knight.

3. Get planning. At other times of year, you may not find it necessary to schedule specific blocks for meals, workouts, and self-care downtime, but if you’re not intentional with your calendar during the holidays, you’re less likely to make they happen. Healthy lifestyle expert Rebecca Cafiero says it’s a good idea to sit down at the beginning of every week of the season to make sure these key things are budgeted into the plan for the days ahead. “With added commitments like travel and festivities, suddenly finding time for your routines seems more challenging,” she says. “Make sure you tweak your schedule to fit in the important things, like your morning run, your self-care, and some downtime so that you don’t burn out or get sick!”

Hands hold a warm bowl of carrot pumpkin cream soup

4. Eat before you go. A delicious holiday cookie and yummy cup of (spiked) hot chocolate is a great way to celebrate the season, but if you’re nervous about totally upending your eating habits during the festivities, Lifesum dietitian Kajsa Ernestam recommends making a point to eat before you head out for holiday parties. When you show up to an event hungry, you’re more likely to grab at treats that you wouldn’t normally choose. Showing up with an under-control appetite means you can focus on what you really want to indulge in.

5. Keep a healthy food “base.” Throughout the holidays, Ernestam suggests maxing out on fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and other nutritious food groups when you’re at home and cooking for yourself — even more than the way we’re sure you usually do. Maintaining this healthy base will make you feel more free to enjoy all the deliciousness that holiday events away from home have to offer.

6. Give yourself permission to say no. It’s easy to stray from the routine that keeps you feeling healthy and happy throughout the rest of the year when you suddenly have a seemingly constant rotation of after-work happy hours and holiday dinners to attend. If you’re up for it, you should absolutely check all of them out, but showing up out of a sense of obligation is going to needlessly mess with your routine. It’s okay to politely decline! “Carefully evaluating opportunities and making thoughtful choices about which excursions, parties, volunteer opportunities, and events to attend will make the holidays more enjoyable,” pharmacist and empowered wellness expert Lindsey Elmore tells us. “Remember: just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

7. Don’t get caught up in the chaos. “The holidays are a time to give gratitude for all you have, enjoy time with loved ones, and celebrate the end of another year,” reminds certified strength, nutrition, and conditioning coach and owner of EAT.MOVE.LIVE. Evie Fatz. “Keep your focus on what matters most and don’t fall victim to the commercial hype.” Keeping your eye on the holiday prize will ensure that you don’t get so caught up in the trimmings of the season that you lose sight of your mental and physical health.

Do you try to stick to your usual schedule during the holidays? Tweet us @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)