No time to de-stress this month? I beg to differ! One of the most vital things I tell my clients is to know your body. Know where you can push yourself and where your limitations lie. Whether it is our crazy in-laws, shopping for that hard-to-please friend or family member, or missing out on that last honey ham right before Christmas dinner. The holiday time is a notorious feeding ground for stress and anxiety. But it doesn’t have to be! Here are five simple ways to help melt that stress away this holiday…

1. Expect less, receive more. Stress and peace both begin with our thoughts. Not being realistic with our expectations can get us in big trouble with these unpredictable holidays. Even tradition can be off-kilter with the wrong state-of-mind. Keep it simple this holiday. Allow yourself a little spontaneity. Go with the flow. Make your reaction to a stressful situation wise and you may end up with a belly-laughing memory to share at next year’s holiday!

2. Exercise! Yes, I know. Typical answer from a trainer. But, the way to remove stress from the body is to put stress on the body. Wait, what?? Stress, but good stress. Exercise is good stress for the body. It releases toxins through sweat glands, allows your mind to deviate focus on something other than what you’re currently stressing over, and exercise also releases endorphins (feel-good chemicals) in your body. Go for a run/walk or grab a girlfriend and head to the gym for a good, fat-burning time!

3. Don’t reward yourself for bad behavior. When you’re ill, try not to feel sorry for yourself too much by being in bed longer than necessary. Get up, take a shower, make yourself comfy, and enjoy a good book or movie at home. Also, holidays can emphasize what you don’t have. Whether it is a break up, the loss of a family member or friend, or just plain loneliness, don’t soak up the pity from others too much for your mistakes or painful circumstances. Accept life for what it is in the moment and move on in a healthy way.

4. Little mediations go a long way. Take a yoga class or two this month to loosen up your thoughts and muscles. Not your style? Maybe just a coffee date with a loved one where you can have easy conversation will do the trick. The idea is to steal small moments of your day to enjoy the fact that you’re still breathing. That way, you really WILL still be breathing by the end of year!

5. Keep yourself nourished and hydrated. You hear it quite a bit during the holidays to watch what you eat, but that doesn’t mean to starve yourself when starches and sugar are put in front of you. Enjoy your food! Load up on the meat, veggie, and fruit trays. Eat in moderation the rest that is on the table. It’s easy to get carried away with food, but it can also be easy to skip meals thinking that you’re doing yourself a favor by not eating two meals to make room for that big one. Eat a little trail mix and drink a big bottle of water before heading to grandma’s house so that your portions are small and you don’t make that workout session mush!

May this December be peaceful and serene amongst the holiday hustle and bustle! Happy Holidays!