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The holidays are here and with them comes an extreme amount of stress. In this year, many have had to deal with unexpected death, job loss, financial troubles, loneliness, the COVID-19 pandemic, and so much more. Below are some tips to help you finish the year strong through the holidays.

Tip# 1
Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can't be with loved ones for other reasons, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. It's OK to take time to cry or express your feeling.

Tip# 2
Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out friends, family, coach or health care professional if it gets really bad. The pandemic has caused so many people to have to isolate themselves due to social distancing.
Tip# 3
Be realistic. The holidays do not have to be perfect. It's ok to switch up the traditions now and then. Many people are doing virtual Thanksgiving and Christmas parties instead of huge gatherings.
Tip # 4
Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. Families and friends need to work together and unify especially since we have already experienced a divided year on many levels from the White House to our homes.
And if it's still a problem, don't go. Don't trigger yourself. Politely decline.
Tip# 5
Stick to a budget. Before you do your gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don't try to buy happiness with a bunch of gifts. Don't go into debt either. If you don't have the means, it's ok. Remember the holidays are only 30-45 days, remember you have to live after the holidays.
Tip# 6
Plan ahead. Plan out everything. That way you are organized. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, connecting with friends and other activities. Consider whether you can shop online for any of your items. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. I recommend shopping online versus in-store shopping due to the rising pandemic numbers.
Tip# 7
Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Just say no. Many people have to learn this tip because it becomes very easy to become a yes person and try to please everyone. Let your no mean no and yes mean yes.
Tip# 8
Don't abandon healthy habits. It's acceptable to eat just don't overindulge. If you must eat the high calorie or sugar foods earlier in the day so you can burn off for the rest of the day.
Tip# 9
Take a breather. Go for a walk. Relax. Find an activity you enjoy. Take a break by yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm. Walk away from anything that would stress you in any way. Remember stress is good at times but most times it can be bad and cause negative emotions and health problems.
Stay healthy and stress-free and enjoy your holiday season and finish 2021 strong!

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