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Top 10 ways to reduce holiday anxiety

The shopping and crowds. The back-to-back diet-busting parties. The endless chats with the in-laws. The shopping and crowds. With all of this going on, it’s easy to feel not so wonderful at this most wonderful time of the year.

Here are the top 10 ways to help you stress less and stay happy, healthy and energized:

  1. Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well.
  2. Be direct and learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity.
  3. Ask for support. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship.
  4. Plan accordingly. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus, make your shopping list and line up help for party prep and cleanup.
  5. Exercise:  Continue to make exercise a priority. Exercise reduces stress by releasing "feel good" endorphins. In addition, it provides an outlet to release built-up stress that, if left to its own accord, can often lead to overeating.
  6. Stick to your normal sleep routine: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Staying consistent reinforces your sleep-wake cycle and encourages a more relaxing night’s sleep.
  7. Manage relationships. Family misunderstandings and conflicts can intensify during the holidays — especially if you're thrust together for several days. If this is a trigger for you, think of some things to do in advance, so you’ll be prepared with ideas when tensions and boredom run high.
  8. Do something fun each day. The holidays don’t have to be all work and no play.  Even if you have a lot to do, you can still set aside a little time each day to step away from the chaos of the holidays and nourish your spirit with people and activities that makes your heart happy. 
  9. Think positively. Worrying about something doesn’t solve the problem; it only creates more to worry about. The next time you find yourself in a stressful situation, remember – you control your reality. You only feel stressed if you choose to, so choose to think positively!
  10. Embrace the situation. Even if you go to the ends of the Earth to make sure something turns out perfectly, it may not always go as planned. Sometimes, you just have to embrace what’s going on in life and make the best of it.

There’s always a new day, so don’t stress too much if things don’t go as planned. Whatever happens this holiday season, embrace it. Love it or learn from it.


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Leftover turkey, butternut squash and wild rice in this recipe produces a satisfying hotdish that's loaded with health benefits. You can even prepare it ahead of time, refrigerate it, then cook it the next day.

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