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It’s December, and you’re huddled over a warm mug, enjoying the serenade of a crackling fire in your favorite fuzzy socks. Frank Sinatra croons nearby that he’s dreaming of a white Christmas and so are you! The lights are twinkling and the magic is undeniable. Or so you thought.

Before long, thoughts of 12 hour days in the salon, stampeding shoppers, burnt soufflés, Secret Santas, holiday budgeting, and what to get your crazy Aunt Esther creep in. So it begins; the most wonderful time of the year quickly turns into the most stressful.

Many holiday stressors are caused by a chronic case of worrying too much. Will you be able to handle all the last minute appointments with clients? Can you actually find the coupons you spent hours clipping? Are you going to fit into your cocktail dress after all those cupcakes? Will your turkey turn out like the Griswold’s? The pressure can be crushing. Learn to balance life, work, and everything in between this holiday season.

Plan Your Rock Around The Christmas Tree

Many people feel overwhelmed by the prospects of managing so many different events during this time of year. You’re already used to writing everything down in your appointment book, so start using it as your master calendar by scheduling personal events and reminders there too. Simplify your commitments by limiting yourself to one event each week. This will force you to prioritize not just what you need to do, but what you really want to do. Overbooking yourself will spread you too thin and make you resentful.

Just Say No, Just Say No, Just Say No

Believe it or not, saying no to party invitations or extra responsibilities won’t make you a Grinch. It forces you to decide which traditions mean the most to you emotionally, so that you may have a more fulfilling and memorable holiday season. Don’t get caught up in unrealistic expectations. You’re not Martha Stewart and nobody’s life is straight off a Pinterest board. Choose a few traditions that will bring the most joy to you and your loved ones. Do less, not more.

Run-Run Rudolph

Exercise is the best form of stress relief, but it’s often unrealistic to think you can keep a tight workout regimen with all the extra holiday responsibilities. Do your best to modify your behavior like taking the stairs, walking a few extra laps around the mall during shopping excursions, or even parking further away from entrances. Do you have time for a brisk walk between clients? The key is to get moving and stay active.

Stay Present

Worrying means you’re fixated on either the future or the past. Either way, you can’t really enjoy what’s right in front of you. It’s easy to get sidetracked when you start mixing your work with your personal life, so designate your time so you can focus solely on the tasks at hand. People become inefficient and less productive when they’re distracted. If you’re making a gingerbread house or homemade ornaments with the kids, don’t answer the phone. Clients will leave you a voicemail or send a text message for appointment scheduling. If you’re in the salon, spend some time setting up automated social media posts so you don’t have to worry about it when you get home.

Make A List-Check It Twice

Shopping can be a daunting holiday task no matter how prepared you are. Most people spend so much time trying to find the perfect gift for their coworkers or loved ones and still end up scrambling. If you’re short on cash, this stress can easily push you to a breaking point. Consider drawing names and having family members write items on their wish lists for you to choose from. If you need to save even more money, agree not so spend over a certain price point. It’s important to decide who your priority people are.

Don’t let gift-giving turn into guilt giving just because you’re trying to be nice. A handwritten Christmas card can make people feel more important than a last-minute present you rushed to pick out. According to Consumer Reports, 49 million Americans receive gifts they don’t even like. With numbers like that, it’s easy to see how many people succumb to shopping pitfalls each holiday season. Setting boundaries for yourself and others will ensure you spend as much time as possible with your feet up by the cozy fire. Remember, the holidays are about making memories, not buying merchandise. Filling your days with marshmallows and giggles will make your season merry and bright!

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