It seems like the holiday season begins earlier and earlier each year. As soon as Halloween is over, stores put out their holiday decorations and begin stocking their shelves with holiday merchandise. Our expectations are high, and we’re pulled in many directions, finding ourselves stressed and drained of energy at the very time we should be celebrating and having fun.

It’s important to make the most of the season and all the festivities and religious observances … to enjoy time with family and friends, and delight in sumptuous food. However, this time of year inevitably brings stress to us all. To remain balanced and stress-free, try these simple ideas:

·  Simplify. Let go of anything and everything you don’t really need to do.

·  Plan ahead by setting aside specific days for shopping, cooking, seeing friends, and other activities.

·  Set a budget and stick to it. Better yet, fight the commercialism hype by borrowing holiday traditions that don’t cost extra money.

·  Focus on creating more shared experiences instead of obtaining more “stuff. “

·  Learn to say “no,” delegate tasks whenever possible, and ask for help. Try to do only what brings you joy.

·  Reach out if you feel lonely or isolated and acknowledge your feelings if you have experienced a recent loss.

·  Take care of yourself. Make sure you get enough sleep and exercise.

·  Extend the olive branch. Set aside differences and focus on supporting family and friends “as they are.”

·  Spend time with those who are positive and supportive.

·  Be in the moment. Embrace every day as a gift.

·  Consider giving to charities or sending a care package to someone far from home.

·  Finally … Take a deep breath and relax. 

These ideas can help you create a space for energy, happiness, abundance, and wonderful memories during the holiday season.