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Patricia Steffy
5 Tips To Better Manage Holiday StressThe holiday season starts to gain steam at the beginning of November and since it is December, time only moves faster! The holidays are an opportunity to spend time with family and friends, to take some time off work, or even escape for a winter getaway. For all the joy and fun, though, so comes the stress. I find the holidays to be an exciting time. Since our family lives a good distance from both my husband's family and my family, whenever we can all get together is usually a lovely time. But I know that isn't always the case for everyone.Expectations Lead to Holiday StressThe expectations of social events, gift shopping, and entertaining guests can become too much for even the most festive types. In fact, according to a survey from Healthline, over 60% of people in several generations (Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials) experience an increase in stress over the holiday season. With holiday stress comes a greater risk of anxiety and depression, and reports from the Mayo Clinic show that depression is frequently an unwelcome guest over the holidays. All is not lost however, there are many ways you can minimize your stress and anxiety to allow you to truly enjoy the season. 1. Establish A Budget to Avoid Holiday StressShopping can be fun, but spending money isn’t always easy, and Americans spend almost $1,000 during the holiday season on gifts alone. It’s unavoidable, but you can minimize the damage by setting a budget and sticking to it. A lot of the stress that we experience during the holidays is due to financial pressure and the Mayo Clinic suggests that setting a budget can be beneficial to your stress levels. Work out how much you can afford to spend on food and gifts, and stick to it. 2. Exercise During the SeasonThe American Heart Association wants you to stay active all the time, but it’s extremely important to keep that up during the holidays. Any activity or exercise you can fit in will help reduce your stress and elevate your mood. It’s going to stimulate endorphin production and trigger a positive feeling in your body. You might be busy, but if you can find time to exercise for half an hour three times a week, you will feel better. You can go walking or jogging, swimming or biking, play sports, and find time for aerobics. 3. Remember to RelaxThe American Psychological Association reminds us that we need to take time for ourselves. There are parties and gatherings and we are constantly surrounded by people. It’s great to be with the ones we love and laugh about the old days. You shouldn’t miss all those great times, but what you should be careful of is setting unrealistic expectations. You can’t do everything, and it’s okay to take time out for yourself, even if it’s just 15 minutes. If you do a whole lot of hosting, make sure you delegate -- whether you ask everyone to bring a different dish, or you rope in the family to take on certain tasks. 4. Moderation Is KeyThe holiday season is a time of indulgence, but as the Mayo Clinic directs -- it doesn’t mean you should abandon your healthy ways. There’s no need for a free for all that will just add to your stress. Enjoy yourself, but try having healthy snacks before holiday gatherings so you don’t over snack while you’re out. Make sure that you’re getting plenty of sleep, as you are more likely to overindulge after a poor night’s sleep. 5. Choose Your Battles We all have someone in our circle that rubs us the wrong way. It’s only natural -- not everyone can always get along. Allowing someone else to get under your skin, though, is only going to ruin your holiday and increase your stress levels. Learn to pick your battles, and don’t take the bait. The Mayo Clinic suggests that if you have a real problem with someone, set it aside and save it for another day. Even the calmest people can lose their cool during the holidays. The Bottom Line on Holiday StressSelf-care is a conscious choice and this is even truer during times of more stress, such as the holiday season. Make sure to take the time and create a deliberate plan! Remember, the holidays are supposed to be a time of fun, family, and relaxation, don’t let stress interfere with this great time of year.
Day 30: Thankful for Those Who Have Passed OnJust wanted to extend a heartfelt thank you for taking a daily break with us to focus on thankful thoughts and grateful gestures for the last 30 days.On our last day of the 30 Days Thankful Challenge, we'll be giving thanks for those dear family members and friends who are no longer with us.The holidays can be a difficult time for those who have said goodbye to a loved one too soon. As you make plans and get preparations underway, you may feel a twinge of sadness now and then at the loss of loved ones who have shared Thanksgivings past.Yes, you may think back to the holidays of your youth, when special faces graced your holiday table, and the laughter of loved ones resounded through the sanctuary of your childhood home or the home of a dear relative.How to honor these special folks? One way is by keeping their memory alive.Your children may not remember Great Grandma, or maybe they never had the good fortune to meet her.Even so, it would mean a great deal to someone like your mother, to have her own grandma's memory celebrated at the next family occasion.Day 30 JOURNAL EXERCISE: Celebrate the living while honoring those who have passed. Do you still have your parents? Count yourself fortunate indeed. Many people have had to say goodbye too soon to their loving mom, dad or both.And yet, remember to honor the living even as you mourn the passing of those who have departed.What are some ways you might honor the memory of relatives who have passed on?Share a special memory of one particular person who has passed, around the Thanksgiving table. Did this special friend or relative once send you a gift to cherish? Maybe you still have the gift stowed away as a keepsake.Why not bring out the special item, and talk about how it made you feel to receive it from that special person? Maybe put it on display for a bit, to be reminded of this person throughout the holiday season.Old cards are another nice way to remember those who have passed on. Perhaps you have a collection of cards to share at the Thanksgiving table which can help the younger generation catch a glimpse into holidays past.Another commemorative gesture: discuss the special talents and traits of those who have passed on. Perhaps certain gifts, like artistic ability, musical talent or a personality trait, like extreme stubbornness or a signature sense of humor, have managed to carry on to the youngest generation.Talk about who got which gifts from whom in the family. Share funny or meaningful stories that relate to these talents and traits.Finally, a special photo album or scrapbook makes a wonderful way to preserve memories of deceased family members or friends. CONGRATULATIONS!You have successfully completed the 30 Days Thankful Challenge. Give yourself a great big pat on the back and a warm little hug of congratulations. We're so proud of your accomplishment!Now head out into the world newly optimistic, ever grateful, and ready to embrace whatever blessings life sends your way!Free JournalThis is the free Workbook that goes along with the posts that you can download. It’s a perfect time to look at all the things we should be grateful for. Click here for the free accompanying journal.Thankful Days SeriesLink to Day 1Link to Day 2Link to Day 3Link to Day 4Link to Day 5Link to Day 6Link to Day 7Link to Day 8Link to Day 9Link to Day 10Link to Day 11Link to Day 12Link to Day 13Link to Day 14Link to Day 15Link to Day 16Link to Day 17Link to Day 18Link to Day 19Link to Day 20Link to Day 21Link to Day 22Link to Day 23Link to Day 24Link to Day 25Link to Day 26Link to Day 27Link to Day 28Link to Day 29