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Five Tips for a Healthy and Stress-Free Holiday

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1. Get Organized. Avoid unnecessary stress by responding promptly to holiday invitations, and map out your social commitments to avoid double or triple booking your time. Remember, you don't have to accept every invitation you receive, but you do need to make sure you're not overextending yourself. Organization is also imperative when it comes to finances; scrambling to cross everyone off your holiday gift list often results in overspending. Create, and stick to a budget, by making a list of people you plan to buy for, and figuring out in advance what you can afford to spend.

2. Take Time Out to Recharge. Book a massage, take a restorative yoga class, bake cookies with the kids... it doesn't matter what activity you choose, just make sure it's something that you find relaxing. At this time of year in particular, it's important to nurture your own spirit, and give back to yourself. Schedule in the things that keep you healthy and grounded as you would the rest of your holiday commitments. When you see "yoga class at 2 p.m." on your calendar after "holiday brunch," you'll be more likely to honour your intention to go.

3. Remember to Eat. Sounds simple right? But rushing to get all the extra errands done can often mean skipping meals to shop. Poor nutrition can lead to a weakened immune system, which in turn can leave us vulnerable to winter colds and flus. Make your health a priority over the holidays, by packing protein bars in your purse or briefcase, and stocking the car with nutritious snacks to ensure you can stay nourished in between meals, or on the run. In a hurry at home? Focus on balanced meals that take minimal time to prepare, like smoothies or protein shakes.

4. But Don't Overindulge. Holiday parties are notorious for delicious finger foods and glamorous cocktails; try to partake in moderation. It's important to enjoy life's little luxuries, but an imbalance of treats and sweets can lead to excessive weight gain, and feeling lethargic. Look for crudités or hors d'oeuvres that are fruit and veggie- or protein-based, without heavy creams or sauces. Try eating a healthy snack prior to the party to be less tempted by the trays of goodies! If you enjoy a glass of holiday cheer, make sure to drink responsibly, and in moderation. Mix soda with wine to make a low cal spritzer, and stay hydrated with a glass of water after alcohol.

5. Meditate. It's common to feel overwhelmed by holiday pressures and commitments, but it's crucial to find productive ways to alleviate stress, as left untreated, it can be a gateway to many illnesses. To prevent or reduce stress, try to find time in your day to meditate on the things in your life that make you happy; take time out to be grateful. Even though the season can sometimes be frenzied, try to find calm amidst the chaos. If you have a yoga and/or meditation practice already, do your best to continue to set aside time for it. If you've always thought about taking up yoga or meditation, there really is no time like the present. Keep in mind that meditation can be as simple as taking a walk in nature, or soaking in a warm bath; just allow your mind to quiet, and breathe in the true joy of the holidays.

5 tips for a healthy stress-free holiday
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