holidaysFive Stress Busters for a Joyous Season

You enter the holiday season with the best of intentions — looking forward to time spent with family and friends, decorating, shopping, baking. But as soon as you pile holiday activities on top of an already busy life, you’re likely to find yourself relating more to Ebineezer Scrooge than Martha Stewart. Consider these five suggestions to keep holiday stress at bay:

1. Determine a Shopping Budget: For many, gift giving is an important part of the holidays, serving as a way to express love and appreciation for friends and family. But when the credit card bills arrive in January, you may discover you’ve extended your holiday stress well into the New Year. Plan your budget in advance, determine what you can spend, and stick to the plan.

2. Create a Time Budget: Many will make a shopping budget, but what about making a time budget? Before accepting every invitation this year, decide ahead how many parties you can and want to attend while maintaining your sanity. Make choices about your time commitments based on what you’d really like to do this year, rather than what you think you should do or what you’ve always done. Don’t forget to leave time for yourself.

3. Set Food-Intake Boundaries: You’ll likely be tempted to eat in excess, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t stick to your pre-holiday eating standards. But do decide ahead of time just how much you’ll deviate from your eating routine.

4. Stick to Your Exercise Regimen: Regular exercise is a powerful stress buster. You’ll feel better, sleep better, avoid weight gain, boost your immune system, and maintain a positive outlook about yourself. While it may seem like an easy time concession to make, don’t give in to the idea. Stick to exercise, and you’ll thank yourself for it.

5. Take Time to Rest: Take time from your schedule to honor the cycles of the season. The holidays fall during winter solstice — the shortest day of the year. Learn from nature, and get plenty of rest.

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