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Holiday Stress Survival Tips

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It's that time of year again-the Holiday Season! Unfortunately for many people with the joys of the season there comes added stress. To help maintain and enjoy the next month here are some suggestions to get you started- 1. Prioritize Self- than prioritize activities During the time of giving it may seem contradictorary to prioritize self. But offerings of gratitude, volunteer work and gift giving doesn't mean you have to neglect self-care. When you take care of yourself you can be better prepared to help others and engage in festive activities with loved ones. 2. Realize values and goals Think about what this time of year really means to you. What traditions are important, and which ones do you do just because you have always done them? You will enjoy this time if you take a moment to plan and prioritize the events and activities instead of trying to do it ALL. 3.stay physically active With the cold weather, rain (maybe even snow) the last thing many people want to do is go outside and go for a walk. Exercise is good for the body and mind no matter what time of year it is. Not only does it strengthen muscles, but it helps elevate the mood, lessen anxiety and focus the mind. If it's too cold outside and you can't afford the gym try yoga, on-line videos or rent from your local library. 4. Set aside technology Whether for an hour, a day or a weekend, try stepping away from your computer and television. Log off facebook, leave e-mails unanswered and engage with others...or just take a nap. 5. Daily moment to Pause With all of the bustle and energy overstimulatoin can induce feelings of anxiety and stress. Take time throughout the day to pause, take a deep breath and still the mind. If you can take 10 or 20 minutes to sit and meditate, or take a yoga class great! If not, just taking a minute or two of conscious deep breathing. This can still help calm the central nervous system and reduce anxiety symptoms.

6. Eat Mindfully It's not a new idea that many people over indulge during the holidays and end up feeling bad. However, dieting or restricting doesn't always help and in fact often leads to binging. Instead, practice eating mindfully. First, take a moment to survey the food and notice your body cues. Are you actually hungry? Do you really want the food in front of you, or are you just eating from anxiety in a crowd? If you realize you are hungry and the food is your style, than take some on a plate and take some time between each bite. Move away from the table with your food and enjoy! 7. Set Boundaries With family often come obligations and expectations that influence stress levels. While family and time with friends is important, setting limits around what you can do at the very beginning can reduce last minute panic attacks! Set a budget for food, beverages and gifts. Practice saying no. What kind of things do you do to de-stress during the holiday seasons?