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Conquer Holiday Stress and Stay Healthy

Entertaining for the holidays? I know, I know, it’s only September, but they are coming up quicker than you might think! You might already have past experience and know how stressful the whole season can be as it is. Trying to get everything done — gift shopping and wrapping, decorations and food — might seem incredibly overwhelming. Maybe it’s time for a bit more simplicity and focus on your most important priorities, so that the festivities don’t turn into a nightmare and you can enjoy the season. Try these tips to keep your days merry and bright throughout the winter holidays.
Get Enough Sleep
You already know you need an adequate amount of sleep to function well. However, with your already hectic life getting even busier, it becomes far too easy to neglect your own physical health. That includes spending seven to nine hours in bed getting quality, restful shut-eye. This article reveals several key signs that you’re sleep-deprived, such as the temptation to chow down on too many Christmas cookies or an extra helping of ham. Not to mention you’re more at risk for a host of other problems such as memory loss, difficulty making decisions, and impaired motor skills.
The solution? Make sleep a priority. Don’t be afraid to shove other things to the wayside to take care of yourself. You’re unable to function and you’re unhappy when you’re tired, and long-term lack of sleep could lead to severe health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and mental health issues.
Prioritize What’s Actually Important
It’s understandable to want to go whole hog and have the “perfect” holiday. But as life experience teaches us, what we want and what we need are often two different things. Take a realistic look at what’s important to you and your family, and have an open discussion on how to best make it all happen. Cutting back on the stress may include things like placing a lower priority on gift-giving and choosing smaller family gatherings. As the author of this piece in the Huffington Post observed, remembering what you value most this season is the most crucial.
Enlist Help
There’s no way in the world you can realistically handle all of the extras that make your holiday special. So why do it all yourself? Asking for help is not shameful — it’s actually smart, and will significantly reduce your burden of stress in the months leading up to your celebrations. It’s also helpful to think outside the box. Consider not limiting yourself to enlisting help from the female members of your household, but also including your guys in the preparations. It’s not only a great learning opportunity, but it will help everyone feel invested in family festivities.
Feed Yourself
Nourishing your body, mind and spirit should also be at the top of your holiday list. That means enjoying healthy, satisfying food both at the dinner table and around your holiday aperitif spread. Give yourself some room to make good choices, including some sweet treats and other goodies — but ensure that the bulk of what you eat is nutritious. Get a good mix of protein, fiber, complex carbs and heart-smart fats. And whether you’re making meals or the tasty nibbles you’ll serve at a holiday party, try incorporating plant-based dressings such as the Just Mayo line from Hampton Creek.
Self-care also means keeping up with your routines, such as exercise and meditation.  Don’t forget to engage in things you enjoy, as well as just plain, good old fashioned relaxation. Want to binge-watch your favorite show? Have a low-key evening and make time for it. Also remember that crafting for the holidays can be fun, but don’t put all of your focus on your celebrations. Making something for yourself while you’re got a ton of things to do can seem a bit selfish, but ignore the nagging and do it anyway. Your emotions and your wardrobe will thank you.
‘Tis the Season to Take Care of Yourself
Getting wrapped up (pun completely intended) in all of the gifts, décor, family time and holiday fun is totally understandable. However, it’s vital to make sure that you make time for you no matter what’s going on in your life. Putting sleep at the top of your list, as well as deciding on your priorities, getting help for important tasks, and focusing on other self-care behaviors are all keys to knocking down your stress levels at Yuletide — or during any time of year.

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