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Originally Published: Dec 16, 2015 & Updated Dec 2020

Although this post was written pre-pandemic, it still holds some great advice for making it through the holidays unscathed. There may be less parties, in person shopping and visiting relatives this year – so use that as time to focus on the blessing that you have in your life and ways to make yourself and them feel loved.

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Except when it’s not. Between the shopping, parties, visiting relatives, weather, and a million other things, it’s easy to lose your holiday cheer. That’s why we’ve compiled a few of our favorite holiday survival tips to get you through the season. 

1. Relax! Work, life, holidays—things can get pretty hectic. While stress is inevitable, tension can take its toll: inflammation rises, the immune system gets battered, emotions are rocky, belly fat may accumulate, and digestion starts to go awry.Take a break, pause for a cup of tea or a walk outside. A few moments of deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help calm your racing mind, reduce stress, and re-energize you. 

2. Focus on Others It is the season of giving. Find a charity or a way to give back to the community. Forget about the gift-giving pressures, holiday obligations, and baking the perfect cookies. By doing good for others, you’ll be doing good for yourself! 

3. Don’t Skip Your Workouts It’s easy to make excuses with all the added activities. Don’t! Find 15 minutes to walk, or try high-intensity interval training for a quick but effective workout. Exercise is fundamental to staying healthy, vital, and energized. Plus, it’s a great way to blow off steam! 

4. Embrace the Winter Season Dropping temperatures tend to keep us indoors, but sunlight provides us with Vitamin D, which can improve your mood and help with stress. So get outside, try some winter sports, breathe some fresh air, and see winter in a positive light! 

5. Don’t Let Holiday Snacks Derail You Nothing makes you feel worse than guilt on top of overeating. Prepare for your holiday parties by eating a small, healthy snack before you leave the house. It will keep your hunger at bay and surely make the plate of Christmas cookies less tempting. 

6. Pick Your Battles Be realistic about what you can and can’t accomplish and don’t be afraid to say no. Take a look at your calendar and evaluate what’s important to you. You may not get out of Christmas at your in-laws’ house, but you may be able to decline that third tacky sweater party. 

7. Try Your Hand at DIY Gifts Avoid the hassle of the mall and try some homemade gifts this year. These are especially great for those hard-to-shop-for folks, teachers, or work colleagues. Homemade scrubs, cocoa in a jar, or personalized crafts all make thoughtful gifts. 

8. Focus on the Meaning of the Season Probably the most important one of all – no matter what your beliefs, don’t forget it’s the season to celebrate giving, being thankful, and spreading good cheer! Slow down and enjoy it.

Using these holiday survival tips, we hope you’ll be able to not just survive but enjoy your holiday season.