Posted by on Dec 6, 2010 in mindsets, personal growth, self-care | 1 comment

Today’s post is written by Anna Garrett, President and Founder of the National Association for Women in Healthcare (NAWHC). Anna is passionate about teaching women who work in health care the importance of caring for themselves while caring for others. If you are ready to put yourself back on your to-do list, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription to Thriving in Health Care at

The holiday season is here again! And as beautiful and magical as the holiday season ought to be, it is often an invitation to have a super-sized helping of stress.

We shop… we wrap… we entertain (and are entertained)… we eat, we drink, we are merry. We deal with our nutty relatives!

At this time of the year, most of us tend to prioritize everything EXCEPT ourselves. And guess who ends up not having any fun? That’s right… you (and me).

But the holidays are MEANT to be enjoyed! And a little conscious decision-making can help turn that frazzled feeling right around!

Here’s what to do BEFORE you turn into the Grinch:

1. Build in You-Time: Probably a no-brainer, but build in alone-time. Giving yourself time away from the craziness and time to decompress will give your mind and body the rest it needs to go full-steam ahead the rest of the time. At least once a week, do one of the following (or anything else that gives you the break you crave): Take a bath, get a massage, do yoga or meditate, take a walk in a non-crowded place.

2. Say No: This is the time of year when the invitations start piling up. It’s great to be included in parties and events, but you are NOT compelled to say “yes” to everything. Choose a number of events you’d like to attend for the season (zero is allowable) and stick to it. Taking care of yourself will allow you to get what you need to get done and allow you to take care of others when it is really necessary.

3. Shop Online: This is my personal favorite. These days, shopping online has so many advantages than shopping in the stores, so much so that I never set foot in a mall. Staying at home and shopping in your PJs is a great stress reduction technique!

4. Maintain a Healthy Regimen: You may not get to the gym as much as you normally do. And, you may indulge more than you normally do. However, maintaining some healthy balance when it comes to exercise and eating right is important to managing stress. And before you have that third martini, ask yourself, “How do I want to feel tomorrow?” Works wonders!

5. Sleep: Sleep allows our bodies to rejuvenate and rebuild itself for the next day. It may be tempting to stay up late at holiday parties or to get up early to get chores done, but try to manage your time so that you get in a good solid 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night.

The holidays don’t have to be stressful! Small, simple changes can free you up to enjoy your family and friends AND keep your sanity!

I’d love to hear how you take care of yourself during the holidays. You can share your ideas by clicking on the Comments below.

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