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Holiday Stress Busters

The holiday season is upon us and along with the wonderful aspects of the season, we may also experience considerable stress. Preparing meals, hosting parties, purchasing and wrapping gifts are all part of the holiday package; however, when these elements are added to an already hectic life, it may seem overwhelming.

This week, ten holiday stress busters are highlighted leading to greater enjoyment of the season and a positive beginning to the New Year. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.

#1 Avoid taking on more than you may realistically manage. This time of year it is easy to find yourself saying “yes” to every request leading to greater levels of stress. Therefore, choose those tasks carefully, limiting the number to a few you truly enjoy and know you may easily complete.

#2 Integrate your workouts into your holiday schedule. If you have guests to entertain, rise early and get in your workout before their day begins. Or, ask them to join you for a workout, then you all with be less stressed. *Note: if they are going to be your guest at the health club, check to confirm what the guest policies are so you are prepared accordingly.

#3 Go to bed on time. Whenever possible, bow out of social engagements early so that you are able to get a good night’s sleep.

#4 If you must travel during this season, build in enough time to arrive back home a day or two before you need to return to your work routine. Getting home, unpacking, doing laundry, and yes, working out, may enable you to easily slide back into your regular routine.

#5 Meditate. Take 15 minutes away from the crowds and chill. Deep diaphragmatic breathing, stretching, performing myofascial release and pleasant visualization allows you to take control over your time and to disconnect for a bit.

#6 Following a busy day of holiday preparation, treat yourself to an afternoon of comfort having a massage, taking a relaxation yoga or Pilates class completing the day with a relaxing lunch.

#7 Plan your winter sports activities in advance so that those beautiful skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling days are organized, enjoyable and less stressful. This also allows you to participate in those activities, physically embracing the season.

#8 Eat healthy. Enjoy your favorite holiday treats moderately and then return to your regular, healthy dietary regimen promptly. Continuing to follow good habits throughout the season provides you with more control, and less stress.

#9 Stay active throughout the day. Although watching a good holiday movie or football game is great fun, get up and move your body. Attempt to walk those 13,000 steps, or at the very least, apply the five by five concept by walking five continuous minutes, five times a day.

#10 Smile more, hug more and immerse yourself in gratitude. When you are feeling the full force of holiday stressors, take a moment to feel gratitude for all the blessings in your life. Then, express gratitude to those that have been there for you throughout the year. This will make your day, and theirs, a little less stressful.

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