Managing Holiday Stress? Don’t become a mess!

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Are you stressed? Well as for me, it’s December 12 and I don’t have half the Christmas presents purchased that I need to, no Christmas cards sent out (and I probably won’t get to that), no cookies baked, and nothing wrapped or bagged! I have no idea how I will get all of it done this year.

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At least the stocking are hung by the chimney- with care!

But you know what? I’m not stressed about it and here’s why. I’ve learned a few things about dealing with holiday stress that I’d like to share with you in the hopes that I can help you manage your stress and enjoy your holiday season. So on Dasher on Dancer on Prancer on Vixen, on Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen!! Away we go!!

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The “Oh CHRISTMAS Tree” is ready too!

1. Take time for YOU– my first tip for dealing with holiday stress is to take some time for yourself and do what makes you happy. Whether it’s getting a mani/pedi, a massage, or just taking time to read a book by the fire with your dogs cuddled against you (my personal favorite), do something that makes you happy and relaxed every day so you’ll recharge your batteries and be more energized to tackle all of your holiday chores.

2. Start your morning with a quiet moment– I always advise this no matter what time of year it is. I’ve written in past posts about beginning my mornings with 15 minutes of prayer/meditation time, but if that’s not your thing do some simple stretches and deep breathing. It really does improve my day when I begin so peacefully.

3. Keep on exercising- This one is key for me because I’m always tempted when my days are so busy to cut out my exercise, thinking that with the extra 45 minutes I could get other things done on my to-do list. Don’t do it people! Exercise is such a stress reliever that it could be the most important thing you do during the busy and stressful holiday season. The other day I was really, really stressed out (like a 9 on the 10 scale). I got on the elliptical machine and went hard for 20 minutes, then lifted weights for 20 minutes and when I was done my stress was a 1 on the 10 scale. I felt SO much better and I went about my day a more peaceful person. It’s essential!

4. Don’t be afraid to say no- If you are like I was, this one is super difficult. I used to say yes to EVERYTHING. I literally couldn’t tell anyone no if they asked me to do something. After my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Trigeminal Neuralgia flared up (and almost killed me) in 2011, I realized that I had to step back from all of the expectations people had of me so I could heal. Now, I am well aware of my limitations and am extremely cautious about adding more responsibilities to my life. Don’t have a total collapse like I did before learning how to say no. After all, you deserve to live a calm and peaceful life, so as the drug slogan goes, “Just say no!”

5. Ditch the guilt– This one is closely tied to the one above. When you say no (and I hope you will), you’ll probably feel guilty. I did at first too. It’s tempting to also feel guilty about the things you won’t have time to do during the holidays. I remember the first time I didn’t send out Christmas cards I was so horrified with myself and beat myself up about it a lot. Now, though I realize I can only do as much as I can do, remembering to take care of myself because that’s important, and I cut myself some slack. After all, I am important (keep saying that to yourself over and over) and I’m only one person so there’s only so much I can do before I’m exhausted. And then I LET IT GO!! I’m singing the Frozen song “Let It Go” in my head right now!

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Chewie knows how to take time and relax during the holiday season!

That’s my advice, my friends, and I learned it the hard way. I want you to learn the easier way so that’s why I’m writing this today. I wish you all love, peace and joy this holiday season, and to take time out to smell the Christmas cookies!! And maybe let someone else bake them this year. It will help you live a life of vitality- with Valerie!

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