The holiday season is in full swing now  and, no matter how much you like the holidays, there’s no question that some stress comes with the territory.  This is a period where many of us get stressed out meeting the multiple expectations, desires and demands on us, including spending more $$ than our credit cards will enjoy.  Oh, and let’s not forget the part that I also heap on my plate … the need to engage in some activity that requires me (and my kids) to volunteer with the less fortunate.

So, what is the trick is to enjoying this time and keeping ourselves sane (that assumes I was sane to begin with!)?  Here are some ideas I’m going to use to avoid the typical stress I have during this time of year … any thing resonate?

1. There’s always the fear that someone will get you a gift or send a card and you won’t have reciprocated.  Don’t let this force you into reciprocating.  There are only two words that you need to remember to use — “Thank You.”  Said with meaning and the deepest of gratitude, will go a long way.

2. There is no such thing as the perfect gift!  When in doubt about what to buy – don’t.  Instead, donate something to your favorite charity and tell the person  you’re not giving gifts, but instead are donating money to something worthwhile like educating homeless children or taking care of stray animals.  No one can resist helping others this time of year.  One year, we all gave money to other organizations rather than buying gifts.  It was fantastic!

3. Remember, saying no to a party invitation is not the end of your social life (what social life?).  There will always be more. We all need to rest and a night in front of the TV with my hand in a box of cereal can be just the mindless rest I need.

4.  In keeping with #3, if you overeat and over drink too much, remember, tomorrow is another day. Key here: You can lose whatever you might gain in these next three weeks.  It’s ok.

5.  Enjoy yourself! Give yourself permission to have fun and drop the words “have to, obligation, duty and tradition” from your vocabulary.  If you skip a work out, just let it go!

Let’s remember, the holidays are meant to be like a mini-vacation, not a season from h***.  How we choose to participate is up to us, but we do have choices.

So, I’m not going to allow the hustle of it all to get in the way of some quiet time with my family and even for myself.  I’m sure Santa never did — look how jolly he seems to be and he eats lots of cookies and likely never makes it to the gym!

Have a wonderful start to your week!