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10 Ways to beat holiday stress

Aly Walansky is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City. She lives with her two Shorkie-Tzus, Scarlette and Max, and a display of pink polka-dot-themed home decor -- not to mention a selection of flavored vodka. Check out he...

Be merry

Stress increases as the holiday season approaches because we have more shopping, parties and obligations this time of year. We're juggling visitors, travel and our usual duties, which are stressful enough.

Woman depressed at holiday table

"The happy holiday messages can be painfully at odds with our own lives, if we're dealing with heartbreak, such as from death, divorce, a breakup or job loss," says Aurora, Founder of the Grief Coach Academy.

Make your happiness and peace of mind a priority

Did you know that happy people are 35 percent less likely to get sick and live seven years longer? Happy people earn a million dollars more over their lifetime. Choosing to dedicate a few moments to stress relief is worth it.

"When you catch yourself rushing, take a few deep breaths. Come into the present moment. Stress comes when you are doing one thing, yet thinking of a dozen other things you should be doing. Fully focus on one thing at a time, and you will be happier," Aurora says.

Perfectionism creates stress

If you find yourself agonizing about finding the "perfect" present or hosting the "perfect" party, give someone a hug. Three hugs a day will immunize you from stress and remind you of the true spirit of the holidays.

"If you're tired of being tired, the best thing you can do is discover the real culprit. In many cases, it's unresolved grief. I think people often overlook the cumulative impact of unresolved grief," she says. "People are confronted by their losses over the holiday season. The happy holiday messages can be like salt in the wounds of death, divorce, breakups and other losses. Many people think that healing from grief just takes time. But the truth is, it's not time that does the healing. It's what you do with the time that counts."

Another key to leading a vibrant life is to surround yourself with positive, successful people. People who are living their life's purpose have a youthful zest for life that's contagious. Choose to be one of these people yourself. Continue growing and learning.

"Find your passion. Do not settle for a mere job when you could be living your calling. People who are living their passion are inspired. They know they are making a difference. They are authentically happy," says Aurora, who trains coaches to live their passion and make a significant difference in the lives of others.

In terms of taking care of your body, it comes down to simple basics. Eat wholesome, healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables, drink water, exercise and get your beauty sleep.

"Sleep is a huge component in supporting health and happiness," says Aurora. "When you get enough sleep, it's much easier to be happy."

Finally, daily habits such as meditation, keeping a gratitude journal or taking a walk in nature will help you enjoy the holiday season.

Top 10 tips for stress relief

  1. Decide to make happiness and peace of mind a priority.
  2. Let go of rushing. Breathe deeply and choose peace.
  3. Let go of grief and stressful emotions. Get support.
  4. Surround yourself with positive people. Be one yourself.
  5. Get plenty of sleep. Take care of your body.
  6. Eat healthy food. Drink water. Exercise.
  7. Let go of perfectionism. Give hugs.
  8. Learn new skills and continue growing.
  9. Meditate or take a peaceful walk in nature every day.
  10. Find your passion. Then take action to improve the world.

More holiday stress-out reads

How to help your family reduce stress over the holidays
Shop smart to reduce holiday stress
Our best tips for stress-free holiday travel

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