Tips for a Stress Free Holiday
    By: Julie Hunt

    The holidays are officially here. And so the season for giving begins. Warm
    loving intentions, thoughtful giving and stocking stuffing take over.

    It's a wonderful time of year, but with all the activities, excitement and family
    obligations taking place at the same time, it's easy to feel overwhelmed,
    stressed and even a tad bit gloomy.

    Here are 9 simple steps to relax, let go and really enjoy
    a truly happy holiday!


    1. Reflect on what an inspiration you are to others.

    The time you spend, the love you give and the enthusiasm with which you do
    it all with is what matters most to people close to you. The beautifully
    wrapped presents and bows are far less important than your loving
    friendship. You are appreciated and cherished in the lives of so many
    people. Love yourself with the same appreciation.

    2. Be honest with yourself and don't stuff your feelings.

    As you start to feel range of emotions this holiday... whether it is joy or fear...
    frustration or liberation... Don't push them away like last season's Prada bag.
    Give them a special place. It will be far easier to enjoy the holiday if you are
    honest with yourself and experience all the good, bad and normal parts of
    life. Be as accepting and generous with yourself as you are with the people
    in your life you care about the most.

    3. Show empathy and compassion.

    Our internal perception is reality. Whenever you show kind hearted
    compassion, you'll get it back in return.

    4. Be grateful for all the wonderful differences, preferences
    and opinions that you will encounter
    this holiday.

    Try to view life from a different perspective. Talk about differences that may
    come up in a loving way and make a special effort to sit on the same side of
    the table (literally and figuratively). See if you can find it in your heart to love
    and appreciate Uncle Joe's crazy quirk that normally sends you through the
    roof. The joy and peacefulness of understanding another's perspective while
    still honoring your own is a feeling to be savored!

    5. Get plenty of sleep and squeeze in a few extra minutes to
    rest and relax.

    Sleep may seem like an indulgence this time of year, but it is absolutely
    essential to good health and a positive holiday outlook. Rest, slow-down and
    catch plenty of zzz's. Be decadent and treat yourself to 3 -5 minutes a day
    without any books, junk mail or return calls. Take time to breathe, relax,
    reflect and introspect. If you're feeling really sassy lie on your back and
    spread out in the middle of the living floor. Is 3 minutes of your day just for
    one month too much to ask?

    6. Try letting go and see what marvels happen!

    Let go of one small thing that's really been getting to you. Ask yourself what
    is the worst that can happen? Just for kicks, reflect back on a particularly
    stressful holiday situation last year. How bad was it really? Did worry
    consume you for nothing? I'm guessing that the turnout wasn't as bad as all
    the images swimming in your head. And, there may have even been a
    hidden blessing after all. In the scheme of things, our daily worries are trivial.
    Try to let them go... and go with the flow!

    7. Find opportunities throughout the day to bond and make
    a human connection.

    Make a conscious and loving effort to be attentive and live in the present
    moment. A sure fire quick way to work yourself up is to let your mind run a
    million miles an hour of things you could, should or would be doing. These
    random relentless thoughts will just make you anxious and nervous. Take the
    time to look into peoples' eyes; listen carefully to what they have to say and
    pass them a compliment about something you know is important to them.
    That goes for strangers too! You will enjoy your time together that much
    more... and so will they.

    8. Change up the scenery.

    Rather than going through your same daily routine, shake it up a bit! Close
    your eyes at night before you drift off and sleepily anticipate a self indulgent
    wild and crazy day. Roll out of bed on the opposite side. Light a scented
    candle in the bathroom and watch the flame flicker in the morning light. Crank
    up your favorite piece of inspiring music before you do anything else in the
    morning. Walk backward through the house. Try tea instead of coffee. Call
    an old friend you haven't talked to in ages. Talk to strangers! Take the scenic
    route home. Wave to the stressed out folks who cut you off on the freeway.
    What else can you think of that could change up your scenery and shake
    some smiles out of you?

    9. Treat yourself as you would treat others.

    Write yourself a love note. Buy yourself fresh stems of flowers. Soak your
    feet. Valet park the car. Have your groceries delivered. Send your undies to
    the cleaners. Snuggle with a blankie. Take a long walk. Sleep in. Watch the
    sunset. Sing yourself a love song. Do all the things for yourself you'd love
    others to do for you!


    Enjoy the most fabulous holiday season of all times!

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