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Holiday Stress Survival Tips

The holiday's lend itself to overcommitments. With a little effort, and planning, you can enjoy the season, lower stress, and truly experience the gift of joy.

Over the past few weeks our blog has been themed around the holiday season addressing healthy (and tasty) cooking and holiday food survival. The theme will continue into January! My goal will be short and sweet- I know you have lots of extra “to dos” during this season.

This is such a wonderful and joyous time of year! The anticipation of the parties, friend and family gatherings, decorations, the special foods, decorating cookies, shopping and wrapping the “perfect” present, anticipation of the response. So many special events and expectations of the season also create added stress, IF we allow it to affect us in a negative manner. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Try a couple ideas to decrease holiday stress and increase  holiday joy.

· Plan time with family and friends doing activities you enjoy. 

· Set a spending budget and stick to it

· Avoid projecting expectations on others, you can’t control them or their    responses. 

· Check your list of to do’s and adjust as needed to allow ample time for    everything that is important for you about this season.

· Take time for yourself and enjoy a yoga, pilates, or qi gong class.

· Limit the number of commitments to what is truly manageable and enjoyable.

· Keep expectations low and be happier when expectations are exceeded! 

· Choose which social events to attend and attend those where you are most  comfortable.  If you turn down an invitation, you aren’t obligated to give a reason  and your host(ess) will not know that you didn’t have previous obligations. 

· Gather neighbors and friends and go caroling. 

· Make a list of the additional activities, chores, and duties that the holidays bring.  Delegate some of these to other family members. 

· Prioritize and choose deadlines where the item is either completed or left alone  until next year. 

· Spend time enjoying your decorations, those in your neighborhood, and the  decorations of special places close to home.

· Worth repeating: Keep expectations low and be happier when expectations are  exceeded!

I LOVE this season and all of the true meanings as well as the commercialism! A few years ago we had the worst two Christmas seasons of my life- my father became critically ill and the next year was the first without him. Needless to say we were all off our holiday behavior, expectations were far short and I decided to stay home the following year to take away some of the work associated with moving our celebration to another state. Although not horrible, it wasn’t the same. The next Christmas was one of the best! I arrived with expectation of arriving and seeing my family, spending time with them, and that was it. No expectation of joy or great food or the perfect anything. My expectations were exceeded and there wasn’t a drop of disappointment.  I do LOVE the season again! 

Ideas to keep the holidays positive and joyous:

• Choose crunchy, colorful, naturally sweet and savory foods for the Holidays and    New Year. 

• Choose to move more and take yoga classes more often. 

• Greet the New Year with no regrets, no guilt, and no diets. 

• Be free to choose foods you love and that taste good, feel good, and nourish  your body.

• Choose to be active, to manage stress, and to enjoy a restful nights sleep.

• Live an intuitive life, something that can be learned through many of our  programs 

• Reflect on your motivators for health and weight management and choose behaviors that will result in meeting those goals, versus focusing on weight alone.

• Weight maintenance during the holiday season is more realistic, doable and much less stressful than weight loss.  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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