Between finalizing your shopping list and putting the finishing touches on your vegan egg nog recipe, preparing for a perfect Christmas can be draining to say the least. But there's no need to let the multiple party invites (or a hangover) slow you down. There are several tips and tricks to ace the season with grace without letting the hustle and bustle take a toll on you. Here are 10 unexpected ways to keep calm and holiday on.
1. Pack a Party Stash
Make your office-to-after-hours transition easy. Toss new touch-up essentials—a luminizing cream to bring light to the high points of your face, a lip stain with the shine of a gloss, and a yellow-based concealer to knock out redness and brighten undereyes—into this makeup bag. We love that it doubles as a clutch, and it's fully lined so you won't freak if something spills.
Derestivo Coco clutch, $250; derestivodesign.com. Sonia Kashuk Large Eyeshadow Brush, $40 (included in set of 10); target.com. Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro Lip Gloss #507, $36; giorgio armanibeauty-usa.com. & Other Stories Luminising Crème, $18; stories.com. Guerlain Écrin 4 Couleurs Eye Palette, $65; nordstrom.com. Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara, $29; dior.com. Maybelline Face Studio Master Conceal, $9; drugstore.com.
2. Rise and Exercise
Commit to 20 minutes of a.m. cardio when you're overwhelmed, says Vancouver wellness expert Susan Biali. According to a University of Vermont study, doing so may help you keep a more positive mood for up to 12 hours. Hold yourself accountable with a device like the Apple Watch, whose activity app tracks progress. To wind down, stretch for 10 minutes before bed.
Apple Watch, $999; apple.com.
3. Energize with Herbs
To head off stress, start popping adaptogens, says N.Y.C. doctor of integrative medicine Frank Lipman. Studies show that this class of stamina-boosting herbs, used for centuries in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, reduces tension and curtails fatigue by stabilizing your adrenal glands. One potent example is Ashwagandha. Research has found that supplements containing this Indian plant can reduce cortisol levels (which lead to stress) and increase alertness.
4. When in Doubt, Whip Out a Blazer
Elevate your LBD for your next shindig. "Throw on a sleek jacket," says L.A. stylist Petra Flannery. "It's both decorative and functional." She suggests looking for a style in a fresh color (like this winter white version on her client Emma Stone) and adding a cluster of vintage brooches on the pocket or lapel (as seen at Prada's fall show) to immediately make it more festive.
5. Talk It Over
If you're feeling down, don't sulk in silence—phone a friend. "The very act of engaging in conversation can help ease your mind," says N.Y.C. therapist Bea Arthur. The pro founded the digital-therapy platform inyourcorneronline.com, which provides online counseling sessions with a certified therapist for as little as $50.
6. Stage a Gift Shelfie #IRL
Instead of regifting at the last moment, stock covetable items like candles, lotions, and perfumes year-round. Apps also make giving a breeze: Santa's Bag (free; available on iTunes) organizes your list by recipient, item, and budget, whereas Yiftee (free; available on Google Play and iTunes) sends gift cards via email and Twitter. And Giftstarter.com collects money from a group so you don't have to chase anyone down for donations for grandma's flat screen.
Creed Royal Princess Oud, $385/2.5 fl. oz.; creedboutique.com. Kiehl's Costello Tagliapietra Crème de Corps, $48/16.9 fl. oz.; kiehls.com. Omorovicza Gold Shimmer Oil, $80/3.4 fl. oz.; omorovicza.com. Atelier Cologne Nécessaire Nomade Set, $45; sephora.com. Fresh Sugar Lip Love Story, $73; fresh.com. Diptyque Limited Edition Oliban Holiday Candle, $70; nordstrom.com. Philip B. Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo, $140/12 fl. oz.; philipb.com. Viktor & Rolf Bonbon Body Powder, $80; saks.com.
7. Avoid a Hangover
Open-bar overload? Oops. Before bed, N.Y.C. integrative nutritionist Nikki Ostrower says, down a cup of water mixed with one tablespoon unpasteurized apple cider vinegar and a drop of raw honey. "It'll help break down the alcohol more quickly," she says.
8. Book a House Call
No time to swing by the salon for a post-work, pre-party blowout? Drybar's new at-home service (available in N.Y.C. through the Drybar app) sends you a stylist for $75. Schedule with a Glamsquad pro in L.A., Miami, or N.Y.C. (free; available on iTunes) to score hair and makeup, starting at $50. Its digital holiday lookbook makes choosing a style that much simpler.
9. Kick That Cold
Too much carousing and not enough sleep are surefire ways to court a cold. To nip it in the bud, take a 20-minute nightly bath with two to three cups of magnesium-rich Epsom salts and a dash of baking soda, says Victoria Moreno, a doctor of integrative medicine in N.Y.C. "This combination helps to alkalinize your body so you can detox more effectively," she says. Already coughing? Speed up your recovery by drinking copious amounts of fluids and taking a 1,000-mg antiviral vitamin C supplement three times a day, she says.
10. Fill Up First
Never party hungry. Before you head out, eat a banana. It's loaded with vitamin B6, which "regulates blood sugar and insulin levels," says N.Y.C. dietitian Cynthia Sass. Plus, it helps raise dopamine levels, so you'll be more social butterfly than wallflower. At the event, dig into avocado-rich guacamole. "Good fats make you feel full and give you energy," says London-based food expert Amber Rose. But go easy on the cookies: Sugar increases the stress hormone cortisol, which might make you feel cranky and ready to crash.