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Surviving the Holidays

While the holidays may be the most wonderful time of the year for some, they can also be a stressful time for many. Between the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, hectic travel days or traffic, and dealing with difficult family members, it's no wonder people often struggle to get through the season. Below are a few helpful tips to help you stay sane and increase your joy this holiday season.



1. Say No. During the holidays we are often invited to participate in a lot of different activities, whether it's Christmas parties, dinners, winter activities, etc. While you may want to say yes to all of the things, take a moment to ask yourself if this activity is something that you really want to do. If not, it's okay to politely decline an invitation and say no. Sometimes, as much as we would like to participate in everything, we can't do it all. Taking on too much will only add to your stress and make it more difficult to truly enjoy the activities you say yes to.


2. Take Breaks. Whether you're feeling overwhelmed by the crowded malls or uncle Jim's political rants, it can be a good thing to take a break when you need it. Small breaks help you mentally regroup. Take a walk, move to a different task or room, or give yourself a little downtime for your brain to rest. Listening to your need to set something down for a bit is going to make it easier for you to get through more challenging situations.


3. Bring Snacks. We've all been there. You're rushing around trying to buy last minute gifts when suddenly you find yourself really cranky and on the verge of tears. Have you eaten? We all get hangry sometimes. Come prepared by packing some snacks with you for the long shopping or travel days. Fruit, granola bars, or nuts can make some great easily packable snacks to take with you on the go.


4. Move Your Body. Getting outside for some fresh air can help energize us and help us relieve stress. Exercise can also release endorphins in our brain that lifts our mood and lowers the stress hormone cortisol. Some light exercise can also help us feel more comfortable after a heavy holiday meal.


5. Take Time for Yourself. During the holidays, we are often in such a rush that we forget to slow down and take care of ourselves. Be mindful not to neglect your personal needs and give yourself time to recharge. Getting enough sleep, nourishing our bodies well, exercising, and making sure to drink enough water will help you to be in the best mental space for being able to enjoy the holidays.


6. Be Mindful of Joyful Moments. One way to increase our happiness is to bring our awareness to moments that bring us happiness and joy over the holidays. Our mood is closely connected to our mental focus. If you are only focusing on the things causing you stress, you are going to feel more stressed. However, if you take time to be present with the things that bring you happiness, you increase the likelihood of experiencing more happiness. If this is something you struggle with, I suggest using a journal or a note on your phone to help you track and write down the good things you observe.


I hope some of these tips make the holidays a bit easier to survive and bring you more joy this season. Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays. See you in the new year!

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