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Coping With Holiday Stress

The holidays are upon us and instead of leisurely sipping eggnog around the fireplace, we find ourselves in a frenzy trying to get all too many things done in anticipation of that one perfect, albeit elusive holiday moment. Despite expectations, holidays are a time when many of us end up so stressed and overworked, the joy is completely lost. Nonetheless, the holidays really should be about family, friends, renewal, and even fun. As we all know, achieving any dream is not magic, it is mostly hard work. It is worth it though, otherwise we wouldnít go at it so hard year after year. A little bit of balance and planning can go a long way toward de-stressing the holidays and making at least some of those holiday dreams a reality.

Here are some tactics to help you deal with the pressures of the holiday season. Prioritize. Prioritize, organize and simplify. Sit down and think about your goals. What do you really want out of the holidays? What do you need? What does your family want and need? Donít make assumptions.

Talk about it. Needs and expectations change as children grow and family networks variously shrink and expand. Disgruntled family members mean stress for all. Budget. Establish your budget realistically and conservatively. There is pressure from every direction to overspend during the holidays. But spending now with the knowledge you will still be paying it off this time next year can zap every bit of the joy out of the season. Be realistic and be honest. Set your budget and stick to it. Despite what advertisers want you to think, the reason for the season is not to spend as much money as possible.

Schedule your Time. Be just as realistic about your time as you are about your money. Cooking big meals may not be practical. Use convenience foods or pre-cooked options to round out your holiday table. Donít be afraid to ask others to pitch in. Do your shopping online instead of at the mall, and have the gifts delivered. Realistically decide which invitations you will accept and which ones you will not. Discuss priorities openly with friends and family members. Reevaluate and reduce you commitments to bring them in line with manageable reality. Remember to Relax.

It is easy to forget your everyday good habits during holidays. The stress and frenzy of the season can quickly take its toll. None of us want to be that horrible relative who always manages to spoil the fun for everyone else. Be consciously aware of your stress and fatigue levels. Take a deep breath before you fly off the handle. Learning to keep your cool not only helps reduce the harmful effects of excess stress on your mind and body, it will also help keep stress levels down for all those around you and everybody will be more relaxed and have more fun. Exercise. Experts everywhere acknowledge the value of good aerobic exercise in stress reduction and well being. We all know this fact, but often forget it during holidays. Donít.

Even if it is only for a few minutes at a time, incorporate physical exercise into your day. Spend a few minutes on your exer-cycle. Take a quick walk. Take the stairs. Is there dancing at the holiday party? Join the fun. Itís good for you. Get the idea? Holiday or no, make grabbing opportunities for exercise a regular part of your everyday routine. Watch What you Eat. Good nutrition is for good health and every day feel-goods.


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