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Erin Nitschke

Once the calendar turns Nov. 1, it’s almost as if life picks up the pace and if we don’t do the same, we may not survive the holiday season. The holidays are stressful enough without adding more “to-dos” to the already lengthy list. Once stress takes up residency, other areas of health begin to suffer (sleep, nutrition, activity, mental and emotional health, etc.). It’s one thing to enter the holiday season healthy and on top of your game, but let’s broaden the focus to include adopting strategies that allow you to exit the holidays stress-free and health-full.

1. Slow down. Winter days are short and it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of “getting it all done”. But winter is the perfect time to reflect, be introspective, let go, and rejuvenate your mind and soul. Take time to slow down and breathe. Don’t be afraid to make yourself a priority in order to feel at your best during the holiday season. This not only helps you set an energetic boundary, but allows you to have space to simply be.

2. Identify the “big rocks”. Now is the time to reflect and identify what your most significant priorities are or will be in the new year. As busy individuals, we can often get sidetracked in the hectic nature of life’s responsibilities and we end up run down and lacking “room” for anything else. This season, make a conscious effort to set your intentions and fill your bucket with the big rocks first – take care of what is the most important (and this should include your health), and then focus on the smaller rocks after your intentions and goals are met.

3. Delegate. There’s no shame in enlisting help from family members and friends – especially during exceptionally busy times like the holiday season. Work together with your family and friends to help each other out. If you are hosting a party, ask for assistance in prepping and cleaning up. If you need errands run, delegate the task to a family member. The point here is – don’t wear yourself out before the festivities even begin. Holidays are about togetherness and giving – so allow others to give their time to help you out.

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4. Be reasonable. Holiday get-together invites are as abundant as the food at the holiday dinner table. It’s okay to decline to attend or leave a party early to protect your energy and leave room for relaxation. Be good to yourself and avoid filling the social calendar to the brim.

5. Enjoy. After all, joy is the theme of every holiday season, so why not embrace it and live it? Take more pictures, tell more stories, share more time – in short – enjoy the end of another year and look forward to welcoming a new beginning.

Get back to the basics of the what the holidays are about: joy and giving thanks. If “all the things” don’t get done, the holidays won’t be any less meaningful, but they may be less frenzied and frantic. I think that’s a fair trade off. Happy and healthy holidays to all of you. Joy to the season and to a new year!

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Erin Nitschke is a health and human performance educator, NSCA-CPT and ACE Health Coach who lives in Sheridan. She can be reached at erinmd03@gmail.com.

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