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The Holiday Season is a wonderful time of year.  Friends and family, end of the year parties, gifts and lots of social events and delicious foods make this an exciting time but entertaining guests, decorating, clean-up, shopping and eating lots of food can also make this a very stressful time of year.  After the fun has cleared you can be left feeling stressed out, exhausted, a little overweight and many times a little under the weather.

A little stress might be just what you need to overcome that procrastination bug and get it all together in time to impress, but too much stress it hard on your body.  Stress is often the culprit that sets up your body for a meltdown.  Getting worn down opens the door for feeling poorly both mentally and physically.  Stress is often at the root of ailments such as colds and flu.

The best defense against getting sick is  maintaining a healthy body.

Here are a few ideas to help you have a happy – and healthy – holiday season.  A little change here and there can make the holiday fun before, during and even after the parties and merriment are just a memory.

Take charge – Run your schedule, don’t let it run you

Plan, plan, plan – I remember one of my coaches always saying “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance”.  The holiday season is completely filled up with places to go, people to see, and things to do. It’s like a sprint to the finish. Try setting up a schedule and write down what needs to get done.  This can help you avoid those last second panic attacks when you realize you forgot a gift  or the critical ingredient you need for your favorite pie.

Just say no, (at least a couple of times) – Don’t forget the reason for the season.  And its not always how much can you spend or how much can you consume.  It’s ok not to eat that third piece of pie.  Sit down, relax, enjoy friends and family and stop stressing about buying more.  It seems a little cliché, but it really is the thought that counts.  And don’t be afraid to ask for some help getting it all done.

Just say Yes – to some down time – Don’t forget to take some time for yourself. Take a nice walk, sit and have a cup of tea.  Every one needs some time to recharge those batteries.  Just 20-30 minutes is all it takes.  It really is OK to relax and enjoy yourself.

Don’t Abandon all Your Healthy Habits

Exercise – A little goes a long way – It doesn’t have to be an all out workout, but being active each day will make you feel so much better.  You’ll even feel better about indulging in that extra piece of pie or having that holiday cocktail if you commit to doing something active every day.   With all the extra hubbub it’s easy to skip your daily walk or gym routine.  So try to improvise.  Take the family on a walk; even take a lap around the inside of the mall before you head into the stores.  Of course exercise helps burn extra calories, but maybe even more importantly, it helps reduce stress and boosts your energy!

Eat healthy when you can – Don’t forget about the fruits and veggies as you fill the plate with all those holiday favorites.  Maybe make one meal of the day a nice healthy one.  Again it will help with your bodies health but it can also remove a lot of that guilt when you are indulging in all those not so healthy choices.

Avoid fast foods—period! – There are so many choices out there now days that even if you find yourself in need of a quick and easy meal you can find a nice deli or other restaurant that has better choices you’re your health.  Scan the food court or walk the extra block, your body (and your waistline) will thank you later.

Plan the Snacking – New Year’s Resolutions are just around the corner and most of us put losing weight on our list.  So why work so hard all year to lose it and keep it off just to blow it in the last month of the year. So, snack wisely! It isn’t that hard—it just takes a little bit of self awareness and maybe a tiny bit of self control.  Grab a few of the healthier snack from the veggie tray along with your desert pile.  You get just as full and get all the wonderful flavors but save yourself a little of that excess sugar.  If you get too much at home, take it to work and share or send it with the kids.  They can share with their friends and be sure to send them outside to burn it off.

Don’t forget to rest – It was good enough for some Merry Gentlemen so it is good for you too.  Sleep restores the body and gives it a chance to rejuvenate.  Sleep can also revive your spirit.  Make sure you get plenty.  8 hours is the recommended amount for adults and kids need even more so make sure they are getting to bed on time even though they are on holiday break.  Not getting enough sleep will compound the holiday stress and strain you are already feeling.  So of all the things you do, sleep can really help you avoid the energy drain and the troubles that come with it.

Finally, Remember to take your supplements—My recipe for a healthier life and holiday season always includes my daily dose of supplements.  With 6 kids 10 and under, every day is filled with plenty of activity and stress in my life and the holidays can add even more.  I know my Shaklee vitamin strip really does help me get through the day without feeling drained and I can’t remember the last time I had a cold or the flu.  They provide a great foundation of antioxidants, botanicals and probiotics to support the immune system and all the vitamins and minerals I need to round out a healthy diet.

Because despite all the ease of writing tips to maintain your health, its always more difficult to put it into practice.  I do what I can but having my supplements to back me up is a real godsend.  I have been taking Shaklee vitamins for almost 20 years and they really do make a difference.

I would recommend them to anyone.  With all the money we all seem to waste on coffee, vending machines and impulse buys, what is a dollar or two a day to live a healthier happier life.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all the best to you for the New Year.

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