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IT'S THE MOST WONDERFULLY STRESSFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!

It REALLY is the most wonderful time of the year. The holiday season is a time to reflect on our past year, spend time with family, and celebrate the birth of our savior.

So, why are we all so stressed out?!

The holidays also mean lots of additional 'things to do' and time with family in our already hectic schedules. There isn't much we can do about some of these things (except maybe learn to say NO to the wrong things, and yes to the right ones). But there are some ways to cope with holiday stress...especially when you're family has been sleeping in your living room for the 6th straight day and you just really can't fathom baking one more Christmas cookie, never mind eating one.

I believe that part of the holiday stress stems from us throwing our normal schedules and routines under the bus for 3-4 weeks, and still expecting to feel normal. That's not normal people.

One of the things that I need to do throughout the week to stay sane is exercise (I am a different and more scary human when this does not happen). The holidays are a time when everyone expects you to get on their schedule, cater to what everyone else wants to do, and go with the family flow. I've learned over the years that if I do not exercise, I am really NOT any fun to be around. Holidays go like this when I am sans exercise - everyone will ask me what's wrong, I'll get irritated that they keep asking me this, now I'm annoyed because everyone think's I should smile all the time, I will disengage from conversation because I'm obviously no fun to be around & 'going with the family flow' has just ruined everyone's Christmas.

I've created a new plan to combat all of this...I get up an hour earlier to get a work out in! It doesn't interfere too much with family time, and I've done something that will change my whole attitude in a positive way (and the attitude of everyone who would have had to feel my wrath otherwise).

Good thing I went for a run before I came home to this last year! I couldn't stop laughing. The angelic Church E. Bear knocked this over if you can believe it!?

Good thing I went for a run before I came home to this last year! I couldn't stop laughing. The angelic Church E. Bear knocked this over if you can believe it!?

What is it that makes you feel better, makes you feel like you're back in balance? Maybe it's reading quietly, going for walk with your dog, sharing a bedtime story with your children, or taking a warm bath. Regardless of what it is, your family will understand (and thank you later) for taking the time to re-balance. Some of them may even be in need of the same thing and are too scared to say it!

Note: If your family is upset with you for taking some time out for yourself, they're crazy, not you.

Take this small amount of time to help you stay less stressed and more enjoyable! Don't use the holidays as an excuse to skip the things you need to do...to stay you!

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!