While some people love the holidays and can’t wait to put up decorations or plan the big meal, others tend to get overwhelmed and feel down this time of year. Finances, shopping, crowds, concerns about gaining weight from all the tempting holiday goodies, and/or dealing with family are all reasons why you might get the holiday blues. But don’t add the worry about becoming the Grinch this year to your list of stressors.  When things get too overwhelming, take a time out, reevaluate your priorities, and move forward from there.  Here are a few ways to do that.

Manage Your Time

Overcommiting to parties, gatherings, and dinners probably drain us more than anything. It is especially important during this busy season to manage your time wisely. Start by setting boundaries and saying “NO” to the events you don’t want to go. Establish your priorities and kindly decline the rest.  It is better to say “NO” from the start than to over-commit and find yourself obligated and exhausted! 

Avoid Wallet Woes

Just because you may be low on cash doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy the holidays.  Instead of stressing about what you are going to buy Aunt Jane and cousin Fred, approach it from a different angle.

First, set a budget. Determine what you can afford to spend this year in cash and what you can afford to put on credit and pay off later in full. (Be sure to factor in self-splurges, because we all do it). Second, if you come from a large family, discuss doing a Grab Bag this year with a reasonable spending limit. This can cut hundreds of dollars off your spending ticket. Third, be creative. What are your talents? Everyone loves the thought put into homemade gifts.

Manage your Weight and Get Past Sweet Temptations

During the holidays, people tend to bring out the best foods, homemade desserts and some things you only get once a year, so you think, “I better load up on them now.”  Wash those down with a couple of candy cane drinks and you can easily pack in a few hundred extra calories.  But if you want to avoid the vicious circle of TEMPTATION, DEFEAT, DENIAL, and GUILT, start with these 3 steps when going to holiday parties.

1. Drink water.  Water cleans out the body, helps things move along and keep you healthy. 

2. Eat consciously.When you actually take the time to sit down, smell and taste your food, and chewing it thoroughly, it may not be what you imagined it to be, and maybe you will eat just one, instead of 3 or 4.  You will also recognize when you are full and avoid overeating. Chewing also aids in digestion, taking the burden off your stomach and intestines.

3.  Don’t eat to fill your emotions.  If you are prone to emotional eating and the holidays trigger even more, then decide now to talk to someone and get support. Perhaps you could have a buddy who you can call when your hand is in the cookie jar or  you can make a list of things you could do other than eat when you feel down and put it on the fridge.

Remember, the new year is right around the corner, with new chances for health and prosperity.  If you don’t do as well as you would have liked this holiday season, make a point to start anew in 2011, and go easy on yourself!