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woman-christmas-lightsIt’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but as the holiday season is upon us again, for many it’s the most stressful time of the year. From visits with family and out-of-town guests, buying gifts for everyone on your list, cooking, decorating and more, the holidays sometimes bring more stress than they do joy.

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It doesn’t always have to be that way. You can deck your halls with boughs of holly while the chestnuts are roasting over an open fire and jingle his bells all without popping a sweat. Trust us, peace in the midst of the most overactive time of the year is possible. Ok, so the next thing we’re about to say may be a little strange…ok we got advice from a hypnotherapist. What?! You get advice from your crazy friend all the time! Give him a chance. He actually makes a lot of sense.

Colin Christopher, a clinical hypnotherapist certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners, and author of Success Through Manipulation, offers these simple, but effective tips to reduce stress and make it through the the holidays:

1. Don’t procrastinate: You can reduce stress with a little bit of planning and getting an early start. If you wait until the last minute and find yourself pressed for time, you’re going to experience more stress.

2. Learn to say ‘no:’ If you have a hard time telling people ‘no,’ you’re going to find yourself overcommitted, tired, unable to do the things you really want to do and stressed out. It’s ok to say ‘no’ if you don’t want to do something or don’t have the time to do it.

3. Get plenty of sleep: The holidays are an exciting time, but people tend to neglect getting enough rest due to travel, staying up late with family, overeating and feeling overwhelmed. Make sleep a priority during the holidays and you’ll enjoy the season more.

4. Take a moment for yourself: During the holidays, we have so many commitments to our family, friends, visitors, office parties and more, and people tend to forget about themselves. Even as little as 20 to 30 minutes each day to do something you enjoy or to go for a walk by yourself will refresh you, relieve stress and help you enjoy the holidays.

5. Breathe: If you’re feeling overly anxious or stressed, take a few minutes to slow your breathing down. Breathe in through your diaphragm (stomach area), hold for a few seconds, and slowly release through your mouth.

6. Stand back and appreciate the moment: We tend to get so caught up in the moment that it’s over before we know it. Take time to step back and enjoy the time with your family, playing in the snow with your kids, and just be thankful for all you have. You’ll naturally feel less stressed and more satisfied when you are thankful for everything around you.

7. Get rid of expectations: Some people place very high expectations on the holidays. They picture everything playing out in a specific way, and find themselves disappointed and stressed out when things don’t go according to plan. Get rid of your expectations and just let life happen. You’ll feel less stressed and have more fun.

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