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Stress Free Holidays

Life is stressful. We can all agree on that, but the holiday season can be the most stressful time of the entire year. I have experienced many years of trauma and depression during Thanksgiving, Christmas and the beginning of a New Year. I know that I’m not the only one who gets triggered by family, overwhelmed with a full calendar and depressed at the state of my life and the world. It can be a lot, sometimes it even feels as if it's all too much - but it's manageable! Holiday stress management is possible, here's how.

In an effort to navigate this super stressful time and attempt to maintain sanity and mental health, I asked Dr. Wade Maggert, mental health therapist, for his advice on the topic. Here’s Dr. Maggert’s top ways to cope during the holiday season and beyond.

1. Maintain your current healthy habits: If you're already eating, sleeping, exercising and relaxing well, maintain your current plan. There's no need to edit what already works for you. Budging on your healthy habits will inevitably feel like starting over from scratch.

2. Say "No": No is a complete sentence. One does not have to have an excuse for not wanting to do something that isn't in line with what they value at the time. Although initially disappointing for others, saying "no", in the beginning, avoids long run disasters resulting from saying yes to things we cannot realistically accomplish.

3. Schedule "me" time: Holidays are all about family and friends, which can be very overwhelming for even the most balanced nervous system. Be sure to get enough "me" time to feel balanced. It does not have to equal the amount of time spent with others. Remember quality over quantity. Indulge the senses with a long walk with the dog, a hot aromatherapy bath, or a candlelight stretch. Even ten high quality minutes a day are enough to keep one grounded.

4. Stay hydrated: Holiday drinking and eating can dehydrate the body, cause lethargy and depression. Drink double the amount of your weight in ounces of water per day (tea is okay). Drinking enough water will improve sleep, mood, and energy. It's important to hydrate your skin as winter weather can dry and age the skin. Consider Zeeta Body products to nurture yourself and to stay present with aromatherapy.

5. Exercise: Endorphins reduce depressive symptoms. If you can't make it to the gym, find a winter activity like skiing or ice skating. 150 minutes per week of strenuous activity is all that is required. That is shorter than one Marvel movie. Don't watch the superhero, be one.

6. Abolish resolutions: Only 8% of people who make resolutions, achieve them. Instead, make a plan to add or subtract one thing per week or month from your life. For example, add or substitute one new activity, like yoga, spin, or cross-fit, to your weekly exercise routine. Drink one less energy drink per week. Add 30 minutes of book reading to your week, etc.

I love and agree with everything suggested here and while I initially thought that #2 was my favorite and most challenging on this list - I agree with them all and love #5!!! Thank you Dr. Maggert for sharing your wisdom and help us through this stressful time.

Follow me and Dr. Wade on Instagram where we share mindfulness practices and ways to stay balanced. We will be kicking off the new year with daily practices during the entire month of January.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and manageable holiday season.

Love, Christine

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