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In many families, the majority of holiday preparations (the decorating! the shopping! the wrapping! the cooking!) are still primarily carried out by women.  Adding to the demands of the holidays are countless family dramas, overspending and overeating, those obligatory parties and stressful holiday travel.  Most women place so much stress on themselves wanting to create perfect holiday memories for their families, that it’s no wonder they begin to feel anxious, resentful and exhausted.  For others, the absence or death of a loved one, a recent divorce or an empty nest can cause feelings of loneliness and depression.  What is supposed to be a time of joy instead saddens, overwhelms and exhausts us and steals our happiness.
During this busy time of the year, our normally healthy eating habits fall by the wayside as we increase our alcohol consumption, indulge in rich party foods, sugary treats and other goodies.  This can throw our metabolism out of whack, leading to not only weight gain, but digestive problems and mood swings.   We often skip our regular exercise routine now because we just cannot find the time to fit it into our hectic holiday schedule.   Further, our natural sleep cycle is interrupted as we travel, and stay up late for holiday parties, preparations and obligations.

Incorporating self-care into our holiday preparations is therefore not only beneficial, but absolutely necessary.  Taking the time for a brisk, 20-minute walk outside does wonders to decrease anxiety and lift a depressed mood and also gives us a much-needed dose of Vitamin D.  Eating smaller meals during the day before a holiday party helps to save calories and its always a good idea to eat a healthy snack of whole grains and protein before going to a party so you won’t be ravenous and overindulge in rich foods.  At the party, make a conscious decision to reach for the healthier options and skip foods that have been prepared with calorie-rich sauces and dips.  Remember that alcohol is not only loaded with calories but is also a depressant.  Resist the urge to overindulge in eggnog and high-calorie cocktails and instead have a glass of wine or champagne and limit yourself to just one or two drinks – and always make responsible choices when driving.  In addition, don’t forget to take your daily vitamins and supplements and drink lots of water to help your body detoxify.

Especially during this busy time, make time for yourself.  Take just 15 minutes a day to take a bath, do simple stretches, meditate, or just breathe.  Take care of yourself by saying no, delegating when you can and by not going overboard to please others.  While finding balance in life is year round goal, it is particularly important during the holiday season.  Remember that you can’t draw water from an empty well, so don’t neglect yourself and your holiday will be much more enjoyable! 

Marion’s Holiday To-Do’s: 
1. Make Healthy Choices 
2. Don’t Scrimp On Sleep 
3. Practice Moderation 
4. Take Time For Yourself 
5. Delegate When Necessary

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