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Thriving during the Holiday Season

Every year, it seems as though the holiday season approaches without warning. As exciting as the season can be reuniting with friends and family, there are a number of additional activities and responsibilities that we must attend to. The key to managing the additional expectations and responsibilities is moderation. By accepting the fact that we may not be able to attend every party or complete that project ahead of schedule, we are able to keep up with the demands of the season.

The following are some strategies for a stress-free season:

Strategically select social engagements.  There is a flurry of invitations that can make their way into your in-boxes and mailboxes this time of year. And, depending on your personality it may be tempting to either accept them all or decline them all. But consider picking three a season. One from work (yes it is important to attend this one), one from family and one from friends. Select those engagements that you would fine most enjoyable and graciously decline the rest. There will be other times throughout the year to get together.

Schedule a personal planning session.  During this time of year when every minute is at a premium, careful planning is critical. Be sure to make a list of the absolute necessities and estimate the time involved in committing to them. This will allow you to carefully allocate the hours needed and may signal the necessity for some to be scrapped.

Reach out to others for help.  It can seem as though everyone and everything is moving on at a frenzied pace during these winter months. Be sure to ask others for help and support when you need it. Just the simple pleasure of having coffee with a friend can lift your spirits and remind you that you are not alone when you are feeling as though you are over your head.

Designate personal time.  Make a commitment to make space in your weekend schedule for personal time - and this does not mean getting that holiday shopping or cooking done. Make it a point to schedule one appointment per week for something that you enjoy such as a movie with a friend or some time at the spa. Family time is equally important and can really help you to decompress.

Don't forget your wellness routine.  When our lives are packed with multiple commitments and time constraints, the first thing that moves to the backburner is our wellness routine. It is very easy to skip a workout or a time for meditation when have all of these conflicting demands on our time. Plan to wake a mere 30 minutes earlier and spend that time on exercise or quiet mindfulness. The more we take care of ourselves, the better equipped we are to meet the demands of the season.

It really is ok to say no.One of the biggest reasons that we feel overwhelmed during the holiday season is because we have simply over committed ourselves. Taking on additional responsibilities during this time causes us to feel "maxed out" and actually makes us far less productive in all aspects of our lives. The best way to decline another commitment is to explain that now is not the right time but there is always the future when things are not so busy.

Find time to express gratitude.  As it is the season of giving, plan to give thanks to those who have made your day brighter throughout the year. Your token of appreciation does not have to be extravagant, but rather a simple reminder to others that their support and encouragement for you has been meaningful and has made a difference in your life. These gifts are oftentimes the best ones to receive.

When our lives are balanced, we are more positive, productive and happy.

This article was published in The Training Connection, Inc.'s December 2014 Newsletter.

© 2014, The Training Connection, Inc., All Rights Reserved.

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