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Tis the season...

...For ridiculous traffic, credit card bills, meeting end of the year deadlines, and spending time with family members who's company you may or may not enjoy. This isn't really what the Christmas season is supposed to be about, but somehow all the hustle and bustle creates this sense of stress and tension we can't seem to get away from. So, here are my 3 best tips for managing holiday stress and keeping the season about what it should really be about: time with family, giving, and a little bit of magic.

1. Stick with your routine for healthy habits. It can be extra hard this time of year to a). squeeze in time to get to the gym (especially if cold weather impacts your typical workouts) and b). maintain healthy eating habits. However, holiday weight gain can only add to our stress levels. Even if you need to adjust your expectations for what kind of workout is realistic to fit in-it's better to do a little bit of something than nothing at all. When you're out & about or headed to holiday gatherings-plan ahead. Eat a healthy snack beforehand or pack something to keep you from binging when you're over-hungry. It's okay to enjoy some sweet treats or holiday food, just think about your overall nutrition for the day or week and keep it in moderation.

2. Plan your gift giving. Stick with a budget and make gifts meaningful. Sticking to your budget eliminates end of the year financial stress and also helps to avoid impulse shopping. Thinking about what gifts (especially for your kids) will be meaningful and likely to be used- and ideally don't take up a ton of space- will decrease the likelihood that you'll feel overwhelmed by the bills AND the clutter at the end of the month. If you have that relative who is impossible to buy for and has everything, try suggesting cutting back on gift exchanging in that circle to decrease the pressure. (Most people don't want a bunch of more 'stuff' just to take up space anyway).

3. Choose wisely. There are so many festive activities this time of year-and they all have the potential to be fun! But, we can't do it all. Looking at your calendar for the whole month and picking and choosing wisely which events you want to attend, will significantly reduce feelings of being overwhelmed and run down. Pick a couple of meaningful family activities to make sure you do and also leave some space to just relax, drink hot chocolate, look at your Christmas tree and spend time being together!

Cheers to a magical and relaxed holiday season.

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