Create a Stress Free Holiday

The holidays are here – a time of year that’s known for its busy nature that can lead to quite the load of stress.  After all, we just celebrated Thanksgiving (you’re either recuperating from traveling, cooking, housing guests etc.), you likely have several invitations to parties and events collecting on your counter/email/FB, a long list of people you need to send holiday cards to, and the daunting task of Christmas shopping for everyone on your list.  All of this, on top of your normal every day life.  It can be overwhelming to say the least.

I want to share some of my personal favorite ways to navigate this busy, stressful time of year and make this season a lot more enjoyable, less stressful and a time you will remember with fond memories.

These secret weapons of mine include…

Put forth great effort to be present.  It can be difficult, I understand.  It’s almost a reflex to pick up our phones and scroll through Facebook or our email when we have a free moment – do you do the same?  One way I like to dodge this is to leave my electronics in another room.  Don’t even allow yourself the temptation to pick up your phone and disengage from communicating with your gathered love ones.  When I’m feeling particularly scatter-brained, what really helps ground me is focusing on my senses.  What do I smell?  What do I hear?  What do I feel?  Stopping and thinking through what’s going on around you at that very moment really brings you into the present moment unlike anything else.  It’s a wonderful tool to use to dial in and be present (I especially like to do this when I sit down to a meal) – and is a great tool to use year-round, not just during the holidays!

Give up those expectations.  Remember: Expectations are premeditated resentments – Alcoholics Anonymous.  A lot of the stress we put on ourselves this season lies in the notion that we expect things to be perfect.  That’d be lovely, of course – but putting your entire extended family in one house is bound to have something go awry.  Therefore, dropping the expectations of perfection will allow you to be prepared for when something may spring up.  There is joy to be found in each situation, so even when things don’t go exactly as planned – spend your energy finding gratitude in your circumstances and enjoying as much of your time as you possibly can.  Tis the season!

My favorite – Find time to move.  It’s incredibly important to keep movement in your schedule, no matter how busy you may feel.  Even if it’s just a brisk walk after lunch or dinner – make it a habit to bundle up in your favorite scarf and winter coat to go for a walk alone to clear your mind, or with someone you enjoy being around.  Be sure that you are getting your time outside in nature, breathing in fresh air, while burning off some calories and keeping your heart rate up.

What are your favorite ways to get some movement in during the cold months?  My favorite way is working out with a group.  It can be hard to not only stay on track but commit to self care this time of year.  Having an appointment in your calendar for a fitness class where your new friends are expecting you, makes it a bit easier to do what may feel like a burden.  Oh, and how good do you feel after?! Having the support of a group during this time makes it even easier to continue to workout on your own, eat healthier and generally elevate your mood.  It really is the best thing I do for myself these days!  Not sure where to start?  Check FB events, or simply google group fitness in your neighborhood.  If you’re in the Los Angeles area and want to join me in a workout with Trainer Ashley Stauffer (first times free!), click here for event info.  Can’t wait to see you there!

Here’s wishing you some stress free weeks leading up to the holidays.  Let me know if any of these tips work for you in the comments below.  If you have any other tips to share I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Marisol Ballaro

My name is Marisol Ballaro, and I am your own personal health coach and life buddy. I have always worked in service to others. If you are interested in a gentle way to make lifestyle changes to dramatically improve your health (weight loss, reducing your risk of lifestyle diseases) and well-being (better mood, energy and sense of purpose), I’m your woman. Check out my programs for more info!

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