Stress-free guide to the holidays

By Erika, Pure Matters

Only a few days left until Christmas! Time to stress out because the holiday shopping isn't nearly completed, there's not enough time to finish that work project by December 23 without pulling multiple overnighters, and who knows what that dreaded relative will say this year to make you feel less than spirited.

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, this time of year has the tendency to add stress to our daily lives. The crazy consumerism, family pressures, the general expectation that everyone be happy and joyous, not to mention that one night, I believe it's December 31, when we're all supposed to have amazing plans lined up, along with a hot new outfit (that we'll never wear again) ready so that we can experience the most awesome, mind-blowing night of the year.

Stop. Take a deep breath.

This year you don't have to stress out. Decide to change the pattern and give yourself some much-deserved slack. Here are some tips on how to let go, relax, and enjoy this time of year.

Lower Unrealistic Expectations

Okay, so you might not be able to buy everyone in your family expensive gifts and you probably don't have time to knit them all scarves. Sit down and make a realistic list of the remaining people you want to buy presents for and set aside some time on your calendar to shop, whether online or braving the stores. You still have a little time to purchase presents online -- Amazon.com has a very helpful list of Holiday Ordering Cutoff dates. Remember that your friends and family will love you no matter how much you spend on them. Maxing out your credit cards is not necessary and will only add to your stress level.

Stay Positive

Don't play the "what-if" game when it comes to possible holiday disasters. Thinking about potentially negative scenarios that could happen is a waste of your time and energy. Focus on being positive. When that grouchy relative makes a nasty comment about how many gingerbread cookies you've had, just smile, take a deep breath, and breathe out the negative thoughts. Reacting defensively only adds to your stress. Shift your outlook.

Keep Up Your Healthy Habits

When life feels overwhelming, many of us fall into unhealthy habits. Don't skip your regular spinning class to work through lunch. Taking a break to do something positive for yourself will have a big impact on your outlook and will actually make you more productive during working hours. It's also easy to fall back on fast food when we don't have time to cook. It's okay to indulge a bit, but try to stick with healthy choices overall. You'll be less likely to catch a cold or the flu, and if your body feels better, your mind will too.

Keep taking your multivitamin supplements to ensure that your body is getting all the nutrients it requires.

Source: http://blog.purematters.com/healthy-mind/stress-free-guide-to-the-holidays