You have made it through Thanksgiving and now face the busiest three weeks in the year. The two weeks preceding Christmas and leading into New Year ’s Day is the busiest but also the most stressful time of the year. Here are some ideas you might find helpful in maintaining your sanity and protecting your health throughout the season.
1. Make a to-do list. Be sure to put all items for which you are responsible on the list, even those that are small. You get credit when you check them off. Review your list for items that are new or different—items that will cause you to do something with which you are not familiar. If these items are not life or career threatening, move them into the new year. High stress periods are poor times to start something new.
2. Watch your diet the easy way. Look for days on your calendar when you do not have a meal or party commitment. Circle those days and plan ahead to use them as diet days. Overeating and eating the wrong foods is a very familiar holiday ailment and can cause tremendous stress to our system. Think of your body as a machine which requires fuel. The fuel you give it today is what it will run on tomorrow.
3. A clear head throughout the holidays is a plus and a great stress reducer. Limit your intake of alcohol. One of the most destructive things you can do to your body is overloading it with alcohol. I am not telling you that you should not enjoy a glass of wine with your meal or a holiday drink with your friends. I am telling you that the average person takes about one hour to metabolize a drink. If you have more than one drink per hour, you begin to multiply the effects of the alcohol. The more alcohol you drink, the more possibility of problems that can result in stress—saying something you shouldn’t, falling and hurting yourself physically, getting a ticket for DUI or, even worse, driving under the influence and killing someone. If you don’t take the first drink, you won’t have to worry about these stress inducers, but you sure do if you take the second.
4. Santa is generous and does not worry about the bills that come due because mail carrier s cannot find him at the North Pole, but believe me they will find you. Don’t overspend your income. According to a number of studies, the number one cause of fights between husbands and wives is money. The holidays do not have to be a budget buster. Look at your income and the real needs of those around you. Then determine how much you can spend without losing sleep over it. A parent overstressed from debt worries cannot give a child the most important gift of all—love and attention. What you will give is your fear and tension.
Just a little advance planning can help us approach the holidays with a great deal of anticipation. This period of peace on earth, good will toward men should and can be a respite from the routine of our normal lives. Smile at all you meet, give them the appropriate greeting, and watch how they respond in kind.
Enjoy the magic that abounds this time of year. It is a time when strangers speak and offer good wishes. It is a time the heavens truly do come closer to the earth. It is not a time to be stressed out.
Bill Hodges is a nationally recognized speaker, trainer, and
syndicated columnist. Hodges may be reached at Hodges Seminars
International, P.O. Box 89033, Tampa, FL 33689-0400. Phone 813/641-0816.
Web site: http://www.BillHodges.com
Copyright 2008 Hodges Seminars International
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