Don’t let your holiday spirit get knocked down due to stress! According to a study, the leading causes of anxiety around the holidays are lack of time, lack of funds, and the holiday hype – from the media, television advertisements, and of course, keeping up with the Jones family’ next door.

It may be that the hustle and bustle of family members and friends traveling to town, mixed with the stresses of planning a perfect menu, feels like a lot to endure right now. On the flipside, the holidays may exacerbate feelings of loneliness if you’re missing someone you’ve lost, get stuck home sick, or don’t have family around. Either way, when you’re juggling the many facets of holiday stress, we hope you’ll pull from the following tips to stay strong and find joy in this special time of year.

Preparing for the Time Crunch

For all our holiday hosts out there, anyone who’s worried they might not get things done on time, there are things you can do to keep calm and stay on track.

01 Plan Ahead

Last minute running around to grab a few forgotten ingredients or figure out your holiday plans can add unwanted (and unneeded) stress to anyone’s life. Try to plan for a few specific days to shopping, connecting with friends, and cooking. Focus on menu planning and then creating a grocery list to stay on task. Always remember to set aside time for rest! Protip: roasting vegetables is one of the easiest, healthiest things you can bring to the holiday table, and can be done with little to no mess!

02 Be the Boss

Delegate tasks to make planning, preparation, and clean up a breeze! Family members and friends come in great handy in this department. Your Health Advisor can help you sort out which tasks are best offloaded to whom if you need to talk it out.

03 Say No When Needed

It’s okay to say no to things, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed, tired, or stressed. Friends and family will understand when you’ve had enough and need a night or afternoon to recharge and unwind. Chances are, they need a little R&R too!

Be Stronger than Financial Pressures

Whether you’re hosting, getting gifts for the grandkids, or just a big fan of holiday sales, the key to maintaining your finances through the holiday season is planning ahead.

01 Stick to a Specific Budget

The holidays are expensive, but there are ways to be smart and budget to not break the bank. Determine a specific amount of money for each area of your shopping list – food, presents, and hosting/traveling expenses – and stick to it! For a foolproof plan, ask your Health Advisor to share our 6 Steps to a Debt Free Holiday guide.

02 Start the Process Early

Planning ahead is everything when it comes to holiday deals and sale opportunities. Black Friday gets a lot of hype, but it can be pretty rough to battle it out in-store. We recommend focusing on Cyber Monday – the Monday after Thanksgiving – to make holiday gift-giving a breeze. Who doesn’t love discounted gifts delivered to your door?! But, if you missed this opportunity, check out coupon resources like Krazy Coupon Lady to help you save all season long!

Celebrate Your Way

The holiday hype can give you this idea of what you should be feeling or doing or experiencing this time of year, but the reality is, none of us are feeling or acting like a hallmark commercial all season long. And we shouldn’t be! Being real is a big part of being healthy. Here’s how that breaks down.

01 Recognize your Feelings

If you’re feeling tired, stressed, sad, or angry, it’s okay. Acknowledge these feelings and don’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holidays. Allow yourself to have a few minutes of alone time, or to partake in something else that helps you recenter, then make the most of your holiday season.

02 Remember to Maintain Healthy Habits

Stick to your healthy eating and fitness goals that you and your Health Advisor have worked hard on, and don’t overindulge on any and everything! Allow yourself a treat or two, but try to stay on track.

03 Seek Community

The holidays can sometimes be quite lonely, especially after the loss of a loved one, or when diagnosed with a chronic condition. If you don’t have family coming to town, seek out a holiday event with friends, or a dinner at your church or community center. Your Health Advisor can help you find and prepare for the event that’s right for you, and surrounding yourself with love can help brighten your spirits!

04 It’s Okay to be Alone

There may be days when you just can’t make it to the party. It happens to the best of us! If you know or think this could be you this year, the key is to have your alternative activity planned in advance. Will you snuggle up with a good book or a favorite film? Do you want to touch base with an online support group and find community there? Your Health Advisor can help you come up with a plan you can look forward to.

05 Be Realistic

We talk about this all the time the power of taking Tiny Steps and the pitfalls of big bad goals. Still, when the holidays come around, there’s a tendency to think ‘go big or go home’. Don’t hold yourself to an unreachable goal/standard. Things don’t have to be perfect, chances are, they’ll turn out great if you can just enjoy the moment. By giving a little thought to what is essential, and what is not, you can set yourself up for a day that works for you.

Let’s have a fun and stress-free holiday! Do you have a tip to share? One that helps you with budgeting, planning ahead, or coping with sadness that comes around this time of year? Share it with us on Facebook or Twitter.

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