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It's supposed to be the season for joy and the season for excitement, but for many people it becomes a season of stress, pulling your hair out, and no free time for yourself! Is this enjoyable or something look forward to? Not usually! So how do we fix it? How can you focus on getting back to enjoying the holidays in the spirit they were meant to be enjoyed, and minimizing your stress during a very busy season? Here's a short list of some fun ideas!

One of the most obvious is to (#1) tune into the spirit of the season. Pick your favorite holiday music station and enjoy listening to something that's light-hearted and uplifting. Admit it, it's hard to stay angry when you're listening to Christmas music! Even better if the holiday music turns into a dance party! The feel good vibes will completely de-stress you and everybody else around you.

Another great way to de-stress is to really (#2) focus on family fun and games, if you have the opportunity to be with friends and family this season. Everything from ugly Christmas sweater parties to snowball fights is up for grabs at this time of year! Again it's hard to stay grumpy angry or stressed when you're wearing your ridiculous sweater, or plotting a snowball against your little nephew.

If there are kids in your world (#3) enjoy watching their wonder at the season. Consider taking them for a drive to look at Christmas lights, or watch them as they watch a holiday movie for the first time! Taking it back to appreciate the spirit of the season, especially with young ones around, is an easy way to remove yourself from the stress and the minutiae of your individual life. It's a great reminder there's a lot of things bigger than us.

Speaking of things bigger than yourself, another amazing way to lift your mood/spirits and feel good this season is (#4) to volunteer. So many people are in need, and it's a great time to be involved in charities, from care packages, to soup kitchens, to other families in need this time of year. Giving and expressing gratitude is one of the quickest ways to combat stress any time of year, but especially this season. And it doesn't have to take a lot of time; a few small simple gestures or showing up for a small period of time will go a long way.

Beyond that, if you need to just find a way to de-stress on your own and take some space, I encourage you to do just that. (#5) Pause for an evening. Sip on some wine, light a few candles, and give yourself a little bit of time even if it's at the end of the day just to have some quiet space away from the hubbub of shopping and parties and networking and events and everything else that seems to clutter up our calendar this time of year. It's completely okay to take a little bit of time for yourself especially if you're one of the more introverted types and your energy is depleted from having to go to all these events. A little self-care goes a long way to combat a stressful hectic busy season!

Overall I would just encourage you to really think about what this time of year is supposed to mean. It's not about getting everything perfect. It's not about having to work like a mad person before you take a few days off. It's not about living up to everybody's expectations of what you're supposed to do this season- who needs which gift and how to make an impression. It's not even necessarily about finishing all the goals that you're behind on for the year. It's a season that's meant for grace, for gratitude, and forgiving. If you can do that for yourself, your stress levels will decrease immensely. 

Cheers to a less-stressed holiday season!



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