Handling holiday stress is hard. However, if you follow these healthy stress techniques you can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. You may even find yourself relaxed and enjoying the holiday season.

Forget perfection

The holidays do not have to be perfect or the same as last year. It is ok if you have a little clutter in the house or dinner on the table a few minutes late. As families grow, traditions often change as well. Do not sweat it. Instead, focus your energy on enjoying the time spent with loved ones.

Reach out

If you feel overwhelmed, ask for help. Accepting help and support from those who care about us can help ease stress. Helping others and volunteering your time is always a good way to lift your spirits as well. Nothing shows the spirit of the holidays better than helping others.

Set aside differences

Try to accept family members and friends for who they are. Understand, others may say things or get upset if something goes wrong but chances are they are feeling holiday stress too.

Plan ahead

Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other holiday rituals. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That will help prevent last minute scrambling to buy overlooked ingredients.

Stick to a budget

It is easy to be swept up in the holiday shopping madness. Before you go shopping, know how much you can afford for gifts and food. Then stick to your budget.

Learn to say no

Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and family will understand if you cannot join in for every party or gathering.

Take care of yourself

Prioritize your needs and feelings. Spending just 15 minutes alone without distractions can reduce stress and clear your mind. Physical activity can also help boost energy levels leaving us feeling better and improving sleep.

Do not dread the holidays. Instead, use these tips to prevent the stress. With a little planning and positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the holidays.

(Source: Natalie Jones, Extension Physical Activity Program Coordinator; University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment)

Get Christmas Ready with Instant Pot

Do you want to learn more about your Instant Pot? Maybe pick up some more tricks, tips and recipes? Join us at the Madison County Extension Office (230 Duncannon Lane, Richmond) on Dec. 11, from 9 to 11, as we "Get Christmas Ready with Instant Pot"

Sarah Hart will lead this class. It is free, but you must pre-register by Friday, Dec. 9. Seating is limited. Call 859-623-4072 to register today!

Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

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