Plans for a big holiday? Stressed about it? There’s a good reason for that. Every year, a sense of anxiety can creep up for many people with the return of cold weather, football, and casseroles. It means the holiday season is coming. Shopping lists, social gatherings, and busy schedules all contribute that stress. And for some, it’s about trying to survive the holidays without getting a thinner wallet, a thicker waistline, family drama, illness or fatigue.

Here are a few tips on how you can enjoy your holiday vacation, without needing a vacation.

01 Lighten your Load

Who says you have to go ALL OUT every year on the decorations? If this is you and it’s something you enjoy, go for it!  Decorating is supposed to be fun, festive, and an opportunity for family bonding time. But if all you can think of when you see them is “what goes up must come down” and you’re filled with dread over the amount of time it’s going to take to bring it all down and pack it away, you may want to scale back.

02 Prepare to Engage Meaningfully

Relatives, extended family, and in-laws, oh my! Family gatherings can get a little dramatic during this special time of the year. Awkward greetings and uncomfortable questions with family you haven’t seen in a while, or worse, everyone sits around staring at their phones. You can encourage interaction and set aside intense or sensitive discussions by steering conversations to light, cheerful topics like, travel, The Beatles, the food, Winter Olympics, your pets, or share what you’re doing for your health and wellness.

03 Mind your Intake

Food. Food. and MORE FOOD! This is the time of year when portion sizes can go out the window. This is understandable, but remember, you don’t have to take full portion sizes of The Healthy Plate when you’re hoping to sample almost every dish on the table. Instead, try small spoonfuls or bite-size portions of all the dishes you’d like to try so you can taste more goodness without having to forgive yourself for over-indulging. Before going for first OR second helpings, drink a tall glass of water. You’ll eat less the first round and may go easier on seconds if you go at all.

04 Make a Financial Plan

Make a plan and track your spending. It’s tempting to overspend on gifts, travels, or parties, but now is the time to prevent financial woes.  Some people start their holiday shopping as early as July. That may seem extreme but starting earlier can soften the blow of trying to find a ton of gifts at once. Take a look at your gift list. Can it be trimmed? If not, try and set realistic expectations or set a spending limit between everyone exchanging gifts.

05 Remove the Pressure of Attending Every Event

Trying to please others by squeezing more into your holiday than you can handle can make you stressed. Let go of that expectation and you won’t feel so overwhelmed.

06 Keep Yourself Well

Crowded, warm indoor spaces are perfect breeding grounds for germs. If you think you might be contagious, stay home! No one will appreciate your commitment to spreading your illness. Wash your hands often and try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth (as this is how many viruses spread). If you find yourself near those who are sick, do your best to keep your distance.

07 Stay Active

You’ll be doing yourself a favor both physically and mentally when you keep up your exercise routine. Not only will you keep yourself in good shape, but you’ll also improve your mood. Being miserably full is not a good feeling. Skip the nap and take a nice walk after a heavy meal. Research shows it helps with digestion for a lower risk of heartburn and other reflux symptoms and helps control sugar spikes. You’ll feel better about leaving room for dessert.

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Try it yourself:

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