Stress less over the holidays

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If the holidays stress you out try these simple tips to help put the “joy” back into enjoying the holidays!

Make a budget

Overspending and worrying about money are major causes of stress no matter what your income.  Set a budget and stick to it. You cannot buy “the perfect holiday,” so don’t try.  Children’s expectations fueled by advertising can make it difficult to control spending, so choose special gifts together. Be kind and matter-of-fact. Make it fun and thoughtful; most children understand and will enjoy planning things together. When it comes to friends and family be thoughtful and creative.  These days quality time is the best gift of all.  Bake cookies, have tea, stay up late with a bottle of wine, or have a nice dinner.  Even a nice long phone call can mean a lot, but these days it is a good idea to plan ahead so both of you can enjoy your chat.

 

Make a plan and use lists

If you have a lot to do make a plan and use lists to keep organized. It sounds simple, but many people who are on top of everything at the office never take time to schedule busy periods in their personal lives. Use a calendar or planner to avoid overbooking! I use my Outlook calendar to plan. It keeps me from overscheduling or double-booking. I look at it several times a day when things get hectic. It helps me to keep on top of what needs to done. It is also helpful to plan errands and to avoid repeat trips to the same places when holiday traffic is heavy. Most importantly, keeping an eye on my calendar helps me to download (8)say no. Just looking at a very full day or week is enough for me say without hesitation, “I would love to but I really can’t right now!” It is easy because it is the truth. Earlier this year when my calendar went down for a few weeks my schedule was a mess. I double-booked and even missed an appointment! 

Shop online, it will save time and money. If you must or prefer shops, then go early in the morning if you can, or late at night to avoid crowds. 

Buy stamps and mail packages now! Use click and ship for everything else. It is easy.  

Consider using e-greetings for the bulk of your holiday greetings. You will save trees, time, and money! And you can send joyful wishes to many people.

 

Eat well. Use your calendar or planner to organize your meals. Eat lightly between “feast days.”  Follow heavy eating days with light eating days of clear soup, salads, steamed vegetables, and fish or chicken. Skip alcohol, soda, dairy or juice and have herbal teas, green tea and water, even coffee. It is all about balance. I read about this approach in a book by Deborah Szekely, the founder of Golden Door, the first mind-body spa. It is a simple idea, but I have never read a better one. 

Party food – even if you are good – is usually full of dairy, fats, and sugar. And if you had a few drinks give your body a break. A glass of wine a day can be fine, but parties usually mean more than one, so a day or two on the light diet is a good way to balance the calories and other effects. 

Exercise for energy and serenity. When you are stressed you really need to make time for exercise. It changes your brain chemistry and floods you with endorphins.  Vary your exercise to match your mood. If you are tired or stressed, try a restorative or gentle-flow yoga class. If you feel antsy and aggravated, go for a vigorous yoga class, barre class, or cardio class. Exercise rewires your mind and body! 

Learn to pamper yourself. You don’t need a crowded spa at the holidays. Seek out private experts, recommended by trusted friends, who can soothe and revitalize you in a serene private space. Learn to enjoy a mask in a soothing mineral soak or after a relaxing shower.  Embrace the quiet.

 

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