Avoid stress that comes with the holiday season

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By Roberta Hunt

The holidays are here! It is a time that most of us think of family, friends, meals together, evenings of hot chocolate and cookies and brightly lit trees with gifts wrapped with big bows. It is also a time that many try to do too much and end up stressed and exhausted.   Children are home from school, family gatherings and a long list of shopping can seem to be more work than enjoyment. Here are some ways to relieve stress during the holiday season.

Make a list! Write down everything you need to do and plan when each task needs to be accomplished. If you can, plan ahead for times you will have visitors and what you are going to cook. Get some help from your family members and assign them jobs from your “to-do” list.

Do not expect perfection. Remember that the perfect holidays exist only in the movies! Not everything is important. If all of the decorations don’t get put out, it’s OK. Try not to stress about the little things.

Try not to overbook yourself, packing your schedule. Instead, stay home and begin to build family traditions that will help you to enjoy your family time together and the simple joy that comes with the season. Family traditions could be calling faraway relatives that cannot be with you, baking cookies together or adding family notes to Christmas cards.

Spend wisely. Many places will be having sales and it is easy to get caught up in the frenzy.  Use credit wisely and if you have to use a credit card for purchases, try to only use one card. The best gifts are not always the ones with the biggest price. Gifts that are handmade are often treasured for years to come.

Eat right. During the holidays, we often eat food that we might not normally eat. A lot of it is processed food because it is easy to fix and is special to the holiday season. If we eat simple and include fruit and vegetables in our diet, then it is better for our bodies and it can help keep the holiday pounds off.

Get some rest. It is easy to stay up later than normal to get everything done, but it is important to get your rest. Try to stay on your normal sleep schedule and to keep children on theirs as much as possible.

One of the best gifts is spending time with your family and loved ones. Exercise together by taking a walk on a brisk afternoon, play board games, watch a holiday movie while eating popcorn or volunteer as a family at a church or in the community. Hold a family planning meeting to decide on what activities the family will do together during the holidays. Spend time with your family talking, playing and just being together.

Be thankful. Take the time to talk about being thankful to children. Let each person in the family share about what he or she is thankful for this year.
By following some of the tips above, families should be able to keep stress down and enjoy the holiday season. Happy holidays!