On The 12th Day Of Christmas My True Love Gave To Me…

…an optical migraine and irritability.

But really, Christmas is only 12 DAYS AWAY!

In the past, this grounding fact would have stressed me out and had me reaching for the most glutenous, starchy, sugary, upset-stomach, break-out inducing foods I could get my hands on. Not to mention, I would have been an intolerable human to be around. Today, I (depressingly) celebrated my last day in my roaring-20’s, found out my identity had been stolen, yet again, and managed to set my smoke detectors off…continually, as I tried to just heat my oven to roast my butternut squash for dinner (who puts smoke detectors in kitchens, anyway?!)…while two kids are literally screaming at me for a snack after they just finished their dinner. A couple of years ago this craziness, after a gnarly couple of weeks at the office would have literally had me in the fetal position in a corner somewhere wishing I could be put on a 51-50 hold, just to get away. Now, I treasure these moments without reaching for a bottle of wine because they are living-proof of how far my stress-life has come and I am able to step back and see how a few simple changes in my life have attributed to managing my stress better.

The holiday season is not meant to make all of our lives hectic and out of control; this just causes bitterness and resentment towards this season. Don’t stress. The colder weather and Christmas songs don’t mean you need to compete with your neighbors or friends on having the most festive home. You don’t need to prove to your mother that you can cook a perfect turkey. Your Christmas-light bulb count doesn’t even need to be the highest out of all the guys. What matters this holiday season is continuing your health, wellness and sanity.

Here are a few tips on managing some of your stress this holiday season:

1. Start your morning right by rising up and having an attitude of gratitude. Truly be thankful for all you have.

2. Wake up early and do a simple meditation (5 minutes is all you need). Sit somewhere quiet, close your eyes and don’t think. You may welcome thoughts in, but also welcome those thoughts to pass; just like clouds passing over-head. Don’t fixate on one specific thought.

3. Drink a large glass of water or even warm lemon water before anything else. Wake up your digestive system right. Follow the water with some protein and healthy fats. Don’t spike those cortisol levels with sugar.

4. As you move through your day, choose to rise above the stress. If you are a list maker, jot down a few things you would like to accomplish that day. Don’t make this list unattainable. In fact, purposefully shorten it up a bit to give yourself that awesome sense of accomplishment.

5. Make sure you are drinking enough water. Everyone is different and I can only speak for myself when I say that if I do not get my gallon of water a day, I am tired and cranky.

6. If you have food sensitivities, now is not the time to reach for those foods. It will only make things worse. I promise, the short-lived satisfaction is not worth the bloated, tummy ache or headache to follow. If you don’t have the appropriate food handy, drink more water. I would rather go hungry than deal with a food sensitivity. Try to prepare so you don’t become that hangry (hungry/angry) human we all fear.

7. Most importantly, smile! You are alive! You are loved!!

xoxo

-ash

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