Well, everyone plans on having happy holidays, but the holidays can also bring on a great deal of stress. We would like to remind you of some easy steps to bust the holiday stress triggers or even avoid them entirely. Let’s get started:

  1. You should keep a realistic budget — both time and money. Don’t overextend your social demands, and remember it isn’t the size of the gift, but the thought behind it.
  2. Plan ahead and have a list. Mark your calendar for shopping days or baking days, and keep your daily routine, so you don’t get behind with everyday life. Pay your bills, keep up with your car maintenance, doctor’s appointments, etc. and of course it all starts with getting a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep is one of the primary stress inducers!
  3. Don’t abandon your healthy habits or… even consider starting some, now! I don’t mean a full-blown exercise program, but take a minute to meditate, take a brisk walk — just make some time for yourself. If you feel the anxiety coming on, take a break to calm-down, but don’t head to the cookie jar. This season, maintain, don’t gain.
  4. Try to eat real foods and keep your portions realistic, as well. Remember, our stomachs are about the size of our fists. As you create your plate of holiday deliciousness, picture all that food being packed into your stomach. Instead, get a polite portion of all the side dishes — enough to get a taste of the season and save room for that favorite pie.
  5. We did research and found some foods have a way of jump starting the necessary chemicals in your body to fight off stress — consider the following: smelling or eating citrus – specifically blood oranges; eating honey – the darker the better; have fresh mango for dessert, or a spicy dish that can release endorphins. Other foods like almonds, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and chamomile tea are key every-day foods to keep you on the happy, stress-free path for the holidays.
  6. Holiday traditions might be stressful, especially if you have recently lost someone. Now may be the time to start something new, maybe consider joining a 5k walk, or a family football game, with the young kids as the pep squad. Most importantly — keep it simple and fun.

You should pick your battles. Try to set some expectations with yourself, your family and your guests… and at the same time, remember things happen! Don’t stress about things you can’t change.

Holidays should be a happy, positive time to be with our family and friends and remember to appreciate all that we have.