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 The most wonderful time of the year is a great alternative title for the most stressful time of the year. The most expensive time of the year. The most annoying time of the year. Honestly, it’s a miracle we don’t all collectively run ourselves over a cliff in a single file line like a bunch of holiday crazed lemmings. Of course, the season for endless social obligations, last-minute shopping trips, and listening to *that* family member drone on and on about politics happens to be the season where we get substantially less daylight to accomplish it in. Great! Here’s the thing; while most of this nonsense is mandatory, suffering through it doesn’t have to be. We came up with a few tricks to get through these next several weeks without exploding.

Cut yourself some slack.

It may seem obvious, but it’s harder to do than you’d think. It’s so easy to tumble into the rabbit hole of overextending, and avoiding that tumble can make the holiday season significantly more enjoyable. It’s okay to say “no” if you can’t make an event. If you’re hosting an event, it’s okay to delegate! Give yourself that space to really enjoy the commitments you’ve made, instead of filling your plate with commitments to the point you’re scatterbrained and stressed.

Random Acts of Kindness

    Maybe I’m an overly sensitive sap, but I LOVE making other people happy. Doing something kind for another person gives a sense of joy unlike anything else. Even if it’s something small and silly like paying for the coffee of the person behind you in line, a tiny moment can mean so much in a person’s day, and it makes you feel good, too!

Let it go.

    Seriously. Some moments (and some people) are just going to be hectic, or frustrating, or just not what you envisioned. At the end of the day, throwing your hands in the air and letting things go can be the only solution. Some things just aren’t worth it.

Indulge, but don’t overindulge.

    There is no reason why you can’t treat yo’ self during the holiday season. Have a cookie! Have two cookies! Have some spiked cider! However, while you’re enjoying yourself, be sure to remember your intentions and your goals. Nobody says you have to keep drinking if everyone else is. You’re not legally obligated to eat whatever is offered to you. Maintaining your boundaries in the realms of food, drink, vices, and physical contact is key.

Make time for alone time.

    Hitting your personal “refresh” button is crucial in maintaining your physical and emotional wellness during stressful times. Take some time to connect with and pamper yourself. Meditating, and practicing deep breathing is a great way to relax and de-stress. Not everyone is an expert at meditation, though. Did you know that getting a massage triggers the same mental and physical reaction as meditation? For the ultimate personal “refresh” schedule yourself a massage during the peak of holiday stress.