It’s almost Christmas, and I can already think of a million things I need to be doing!  Planning and shopping for a large meal requires time.  Stress can be a good thing- it can enhance your productivity.  But too much stress can create physical and emotional problems.  So it’s best if we can adopt these habits:

1.    Exercise regularly. Aim for 30 minutes every day.

2.    Eat right.  Protein-containing foods and those that contain Vitamins A, B, and C protect us from stress.

3.    Develop a positive attitude.

4.    Manage time efficiently.

5.    Warn your family when you are feeling especially tense; if they are causing the pressure, it will help them to understand how you are feeling and hopefully calm things down.

6.    Talk things out; don’t hold feelings in.

7.    Understand that every crisis gives you an occasion to grow and learn.

8.    Get sufficient sleep.

9.    Have a support network of people you can count on for help.

10.    Stretch away tension; there are stretching exercises that can even be done at your desk.

11.    Give yourself a break – time alone to calm down, even 20-30 minutes, may be enough to help you focus on taking the proper time to concentrate on tasks at hand.

12.    Relax……take three or four deep breaths and relax all of your muscles as much as possible.

The greatest gift we give ourselves is the satisfaction that we have done a job well.  If we cope with every day stress by using these tips, we will also cope with added tension as we prepare for the holidays.  Too many times we are trying so hard to carry out every little detail to perfection, whether it’s preparing the meal, the house, or trying to remember what we’re afraid we’ll forget, that we don’t slow down to enjoy the whole purpose of the celebration:  friends and family coming to our home to celebrate the holiday.

So, chill out – if you can do: #3, #4, #5 and #11 successfully, you will have the best holiday ever!  And, after enjoying a wonderful meal, you’ll be able to do #8 quite well.
Merry Christmas!