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We’re in the midst of that time of year again when the air is filled with joy and happiness and yet sometimes we can’t help but feel busy and stressed. Are you scrambling to buy gifts, busy preparing the home for guests, or cleaning and cooking in massive quantities? Even if you’re not, how can you avoid getting caught up in the chaos of it all? Here are some tips to help you survive this holiday season and beyond:

  1. Breathe. You’d be surprised at how many of us hold our breaths or take small sips of air, especially in times of stress. So, if and when you notice yourself tensing up, slow down and take just three deep breaths. Notice how much calmer you feel when you remember to breathe. Read more about breathing here.
  1. Smile. You may be on a deadline trying to get the shopping done but please don’t be a Grinch. A smile can go a long way. If you get cut off in line, if someone grabs the last toy you were about to reach for, or if someone takes your parking spot, just smile and let it go. Watch how that smile changes yourself and others.
  1. Shake it out. Sometimes, the tension builds up so much that you just can’t take it anymore. In this case, it’s best to have some healthy outlets in place so that you don’t end up taking it out on others or harming yourself. Exercise, laughter, talking with someone, dancing, drawing, and doing a hobby are all great ways to relieve stress but if you don’t have access to those things at the moment, you can always shake it out (preferable in the bathroom or behind your desk so no one sees you). And when I say “shake it out,” I mean let your whole body loose and SHAKE IT OUT! Now, doesn’t that feel good?
  1. Be present. Through it all, be present and in the moment. Be the eye of the storm and notice the energy around you. Enjoy the time with family and friends or the peace and quiet if you are alone. Savor the flavors of the delicious meal that you or someone else has prepared. Soak it all in for this moment is all we have and soon this too shall pass.

May you survive and THRIVE today and every day. See you in the New Year!

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