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Once the calendar takes a turn into the holiday season, it can become very stressful. There are parties to attend, shopping to get done, baking that has to happen, wrapping all those gifts, redecorating of the house – the list goes on and on! It’s all part of the “joy” of the season, right? But, a word of warning: Stress can do some crazy things to your body.

Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress. Seventy-five percent to 90 percent of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints. Stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression and anxiety.*

So, I urge you to take care of yourself this season! Here are a few stress-relieving suggestions to survive what can often become the “stress-iest” season of all:

  1. Chill out in a yoga class. There are several FREE options, including a class at the Lululemon Store. (I’ll admit, it’s a fun place to shop for something for yourself as well). 
  2. Take a walk. Instead of getting together with friends to just eat or drink, plan time to take a walk with them in the brisk cold (and some even say the cold shivers will help you burn more calories). Enjoy the lights on neighbor’s houses on foot this year. Plus you get the added benefit of real time spent with friends – rather than being harried about what you’re serving. 
  3. Half-way is okay! No one will throw a fit if the cookies are not homemade (there are great options at grocery stores or box mixes), or if you didn’t clean everything yourself (another present for yourself can be hiring a cleaning service).
  4. Plan ahead – plan for which parties you will attend, plan on how much money you will spend, plan even for what time/dates you will go shopping. You’ll feel more organized, let alone save time, stress and, possibly, money. 

The holidays are not meant to stress you out. Hopefully, these few ideas will help it remain for you and your loved ones (all sing along now!) the “Hap- Happiest Time of the Year.”

*SOURCES: National Institute of Mental Health: "Fact Sheet on Stress." American Heart Association: "How Does Stress Affect You." Mayo Clinic: "Stress: Constant stress puts your health at risk."