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We are just a few weeks out from Christmas and the New Year, which means days and nights filled with decking the halls, attending gatherings, imbibing with those we love, and of course the stress that can seem inevitable this time of year. While the holidays can be filled with joy and love, they can also seem overwhelming at times. Here are some of our favorite strategies to cut down on holiday stress.

Set realistic expectations.

It is far too easy to feel the pressure of trying to be Pinterest perfect these days. But what makes a great holiday are the memories not the material items. The holidays do not have to be perfect, nor do they have to be the same every year. Focus on those events and traditions that will make the most memories and if needed be flexible in those traditions to avoid undue stress. For example, if you can’t be with all of your family during the holidays, it is quick and easy to make a video and text it to those whom you love.

Set and Stick to a budget.

Money is the cause of much of the stresses we face any time of the year and at the holidays it can be far worse. Again, do not focus on things, or feel the need to buy a gift just for the sake of giving a gift. Some of the most cherished gifts are from the heart and homemade. Before you hit the mall or store, make a list, set a budget, and stick to it. Another fabulous way to avoid holiday money stress is to start a family gift exchange and focus on one heartfelt gift!

Set Boundaries.

You do not need to attend every event. It is okay to decline an invite if it will leave you drained and resentful. Make a list of the events that you would really enjoy attending, those you HAVE to attend, and work to strike a balance so you are not left exhausted and find yourself rundown, or worse yet sick on Christmas Day or New Years Eve.

Put your health first.

It can be way too easy to make December one long cheat day. This will leave you drained, guilty and stressed out come January. We love moderation – so do not avoid that special holiday treat your mother always makes – just don’t eat the whole thing! Also, make sure you focus on healthy snacking so you are not starving when you arrive to an event. Make sure to get enough sleep – we tend to overeat when overtired. And do not wait for the New Year to get out and move.

Take a breather – or two – or three.

And if the stress starts to pile up – take some time just for you. Just 15 minutes alone can help you recharge and allow you to handle the tasks ahead. A walk or a good book is a great way to reduce stress and restore calm.

Seek professional assistance if needed.

Finally, if you feel like you have reached a point where the stress is debilitating, please talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. At Our Urgent Care we are here for you and your family for whatever medical need arises.