Holidays Got Your Stressed? The holidays are meant to be a time of great joy and cheer, however at times they can become a tad stressful and overwhelming. That’s why I wrote this week’s blog. While the holiday season will always be a little hectic, it doesn’t have to be stressful—in fact it can be rather enjoyable if you take the following tips into account.

1. Don’t go shopping during peak hours. Though the sales may be tempting, the added stress of the crowds and rushing to get the items you want can hurt you both emotionally and financially.

2. Make sure you write a list before you go shopping. Plan ahead and know what you need and where you need to go. The less prepared you are, the more frantic and frustrating those shopping trips will be.

3. Doing some of your shopping online will also help. You can skip the long lines and crowded stores and there is often a larger selection available online. Most online stores even allow for shipping directly to the gift recipient as well as gift wrapping!

4. When shopping, be sure you have a budget. Planning out your holiday shopping budget and sticking to it will leave you with less regret in the New Year. And don’t forget the holiday meals. Be sure that you include the food and decorations in your budget so you don’t find yourself in a bind after buying all the gifts.

5. When doing wrapping, decorating, cooking, or other holiday preparations light some candles, play some music, and engage the entire family in the activity. Keep things light and festive and you will enjoy the holiday tasks much more.

6. Don’t forget to workout! I know you have a busy schedule and a ton of things to get done but, this is a must. Working out can relieve stress and put you in the right frame of mind to deal with everything that comes up during the day.

7. Be sure you schedule your workout into your day. You are less likely to skip it (especially if you schedule it for first thing in the morning) and the simple idea of having at least one scheduled thing that you have complete control over will be a welcome structure to what may otherwise be a hectic day.

8. If you are visiting family and are unable to get to a gym, schedule a daily walk. Take a different route each day if possible just to change it up a bit. It is a great way to take in some new sights if you’ve never been there before or, to reacquaint yourself with the surroundings if you are going “home”. Relive old memories or make some new ones while taking care of your body and your mind!

9. Always eat something before you leave home. A healthy meal or light snack will keep you from being hungry while you are running your errands and you won’t be so tempted to stop for that burger and fries.

10. Pick certain meals during which you will treat yourself and give yourself permission to enjoy it without guilt. Portions are the real enemy during the holidays, not the foods themselves. You can eat a little of everything you want and still maintain your health.

11. When choosing your foods – eat more vegetables and lean meats such as turkey and chicken. Putting more of these on your plate will help to fill you up and the smaller portions of higher calorie and more dense foods such as pastas and breads will satisfy your desires for them.

12. Go easy on the sweets. You don’t have to abstain from them completely, just watch your portions. If Aunt Sue makes the best sugar pie in the world, there’s no reason for you to miss out while everyone else enjoys it. Take a smaller than normal slice and enjoy!

13. Let’s fact it, it’s hard to eat clean during the holidays. If you fall off the wagon, just dust yourself off and climb back on the next day. Get right back into your normal healthy habits and forget the day before. There’s no need to dwell on it and stress out. It happens to all of us!

14. Try to maintain a routine. The holidays can be hectic, but it’s important to maintain a routine despite the business of the season. Schedule exercise time, try to go to bed at your usual time, and don’t forget to take your vitamins! In doing so, you will have plenty of energy to tackle shopping, gift wrapping, cooking, and hosting family!

15. Lastly, schedule some time to review your New Year’s Resolutions. It is important to begin this process before the New Year. This way you will be ready to hit the road running and you won’t have to spend the first week of the New Year focused on your Wellness Plan. It’s also a good time to review your resolutions and goals from last year. What were you able to accomplish? Are there things carrying over from last year that you may need to develop better strategies for? My Goal Setting for Success Workbook will help you create a plan of action for your 2014 goals!

Do you have any tips that will make the holiday season “merry and bright”? We’d love to hear from you!
Also, feel free to share this blog with your family and friends!

Happy Holidays.