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The holiday season is a happy time, and is also a busy time.

As the urgencies pile up, so do the emotional, physical, and chemical stressors. Shopping, meal planning, financial strain, cold weather, and the increased intake of alcohol, sugar and fats are all examples of stress factors that negatively affect our wellbeing. Here are a few pointers on making the most of your holiday season.

Don’t overdo it

Whether its binging on stuffing or working extra holiday hours, watch out for overconsumption. For example, alcohol may feel like it decreases your stress, but having too much actually acts as a chemical stressor and puts your health at risk. Decide on your limits ahead of any event, and remember that it’s okay to say “no” when someone offers you something.

Anticipate potential problems

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Think back to what you did last year, and come up with a plan to avoid any of those same pitfalls. Give yourself extra time for everything, from gift shopping to meal preparation to travel. Make lists and recruit family members or friends to help you with errands. Don’t sweat the little things – just focus on the big picture and what really matters: spending time together with loved ones.

Stick to your healthy habits

When our to-do lists grow, we often forget to take care of ourselves. This leaves us more at risk for catching a cold or flu, or old injuries being aggravated. Doing your weekly amount of exercise, maintaining a full nutritional diet and getting adjusted regularly are all part of preventing illness. Sleep for a full 8 hours and get a good night’s rest to prepare you for each busy day. Take a walk to blow off steam if you need to. Make time for yourself.

Give thanks

Thanksgiving isn’t the only time we should find gratitude. Don’t forget about the good stress that comes at this time of year! Seeing loved ones again, enjoying winter activities, and giving others gifts are all types of stress that contribute to your personal growth. Savour those moments.

Most of all, remember to take everything in stride and enjoy your holidays! It’s the end of the year – you deserve it.

By Courtney Chan, Chiropractic Assistant