"De-Stress for the Holidays"The holidays are here and you are running around trying to be all things to all people. There’s the shopping to get done, the menu to plan for visiting relatives and let’s not forget the stunning outfit you need to buy. With all these things swirling around in your head, how do you keep from being stressed?

If you are like most people, stress has a way of creeping into your life and trying to make a mess of things. Hectic commutes, impending deadlines and a demanding boss, long lines at the grocery store, climbing gas prices and poor customer service. What do these things have in common? They all ratchet up the stress factor in our lives. And that doesn’t even take into account the stressful issues we face at home. To put it simply, many of us don’t even realize how much stress we’re subjected to on a daily basis and the negative impact it can have on our lives.

We are all vulnerable to the health risks of stress. And women may find themselves walking a higher tightrope so to speak because they try to be so many things to so many people. From childhood women have been conditioned to put others first. It’s commendable to be a compassionate and giving person, but not at the sake of your own health and well-being. You have to set limits.


By making some changes in your life, you can actually make stress work for you. If you think of stress as your friend and start setting boundaries, you create some mental lines that stress is not allowed to cross. Learn to relax. It’s amazing how something as simple as sitting in a tub of warm water can melt the stress away. Take care of yourself. If you won’t, who will? And my personal favorite of all is laughter. Good humor does wonders for your psyche. It helps put things into perspective and keep you from “sweating the small stuff.” When you are reading the paper, reach for the comics. Laugh with your family and friends. Buy a few funny books and laugh hard, laugh loud and laugh often. When it comes to curing stress related ailments, laughter is by far one of the best medicines. It’s an effective and fun stress buster.

Stress may be here to stay, but you don’t have to let it get the best of you. Taking pro-active, simple measures takes the bite off stress. Even if you are the busiest person in the world, you can fit in stress-free moments to give yourself a chance to recover from the stressors that bombard you day in and day out. You can relieve stress while you take a shower, by takings short breaks throughout your day to stretch, by changing harmful habits, by practicing deep breathing, which can be done anytime, anywhere and even while you drive to work by listening to an entertaining or soothing tape. So this holiday season try making some minor adjustments, take it one step at a time, you can beat stress before it beats you. Then when you look in the mirror on Christmas Day and see yourself in that stunning outfit you bought, you will see a happier, more tranquil, better balanced YOU. Keep in mind you have the ability to take control and create a less stressful, more enjoyable life—it will be good for you, in so many ways. So don’t let the holiday season beat you down or stress you out. Enjoy!!!!

Dr. Madeline Ann Lewis is President/CEO of Executive Women’s Success Institute (www.exwsi.com) in Maryland. She is a career strategist, trainer, speaker, and author of Finding Your Best Inside: How to Become the Person You Are Meant to Be.

This an other seasonal articles can be found in the 2012 Holiday Gift Giving Guide  (PDF). You can also read the Flip Version .