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8 Fixes for Holiday Stress ©Deborah Barr

The Holidays are a time for joy, giving and receiving love, and family traditions. Yet many people experience the Holidays as stressful and exhausting. We seem to have gotten further and further away from the true meaning of this highly-charged spiritual time. Many overextend themselves; spend money they don’t have; over-commitment; and have expectations that are too high.  Some lack a healthy rhythm to their life, eat high-stress foods, and make inappropriate food choices for the colder, darker season.

Clients often ask for suggestions on maintaining balance and good health during the holidays.  Putting your happiness and well-being first and foremost is essential.  Base every action you take on self-love, and practice exceptional self-care. What are you tolerating that you don't want to be doing?  Let it go.  The better you feel the greater your positive impact on other people; your work, and family; and the more joyful your holidays will be. Now is NOT the time to give up your exercise routine or to eat poor quality food. 

Start by setting your intention for the Holidays

Decide what your experience will be.  Create a plan and work it.  Put your well being first.  Set some guidelines and new traditions if the old ones leave you exhausted and stressed. Your choices and experiences will always reflect your mental state.  By setting the mental tone first, it will be easier to make choices that will create a happier, healthier Holiday.

Simplify and Organize

Make a list of those you want to give gifts to and how much you want to spend.  Create your own gift certificates for something you are talented at—something that can be honored after the rush of the season. Make a weekly plan for healthy eating, exercising, self-nurturing. This is not optional.  Healthy diet and exercise increase vitality and improve mental state.  Say NO more often.  It’s impossible to attend every party, and give gifts to everyone you love.

Identify time wasters

Let them go. Take a day off during the middle of the week to shop when there are fewer crowds or shop online and by catalog. Call your favorite store and ask for gift suggestions.  Do as much as you can at one store.


Focus on long, slow, deep breathing. Close your eyes and visualize yourself smiling, radiant, energized.  Hold the vision for 30 seconds.  Ask your Inner Wisdom to give you all the energy, time, abundance, health, and love that you need. Sit quietly focusing on your breath. When thoughts arise, bring your attention back to your breath.  This is a significant way to remain peaceful and healthy.  Do this for 5 minutes or more 2-3x a day.   Do not underestimate the impact of this simple practice.

To remedy stress and fatigue

Get a massage, spend an hour at the gym, take a steam or sauna; go to a yoga class, or take a short, brisk walk.  Listen to a guided relaxation tape; take quiet, reflective time to journal your thoughts and feelings.  Eat a healthy, simple, whole foods meal. Listen to music that relaxes and rejuvenates you. 

Master Your Mind

Do everything you can to elevate your thoughts.  This will lead to more physical vitality.  Your body and life always follow the instructions of your mind.  Set a positive mental tone by refusing to complain, listen to or talk about anything negative.  What you put your attention on expands.  Keep bringing your mind back to the peaceful, joyful, abundant Holiday Season that you intend to experience.

Choose Your Food Consciously

During the Holidays do you give yourself permission to eat a lot of foods you would not ordinarily consume?  You may know that certain foods cause fatigue, irritability, moodiness, and even make you sick. And yet, because it's the Holidays, you abandon your healthy eating habits to indulge and feel lousy.  Does this make sense?  Ask yourself what you want more,  vitality, well-being, and a healthy fit body and mind, or the very short-lived sensory pleasure of food and substances that cause fatigue, anxiety, depression, and poor health.

Stress, fatigue and over committing can cause you to reach for foods that will calm or dull your emotions and give you energy.  Unfortunately, a lot of people reach for simple sugars, alcohol, or rich, fatty foods which may give very temporary relief.  Ultimately, these foods and substances will cause more fatigue, anxiety, and other negative emotional states. 

If you do overindulge there are immediate solutions.  Learn Antidotes for Poor Eating. There are many effective digestive supplements to prevent and treat many issues related to poor eating.  High quality supplements for stress and anxiety can be useful as well.

Keep your focus on what you want—vitality, wellness, and peace of mind.  Doing so will  lead to better choices.  Whatever you decide to eat, enjoy it and let go of guilt.  Guilt always causes a new problem. It helps to remember why you eat.  Food fuels your body, gives you mental clarity and focus, healthy, balanced emotions and a joyful spirit.  The more you love and respect yourself, the easier it will be to eat well. 

Eat Mindfully

Whatever you eat, if you chew until liquid and avoid eating a minimum of 2 hours before bed, you will feel better.  Eat slowly and savor the tastes and textures and you will be satisfied with small amounts.  If you have overindulged, eat simply the next day, eating only vegetables, broth, simple soups, and herbal teas.  Add whole grains like  buckwheat, quinoa and millet, amaranth, and wild or brown rice.

This is not only a time of celebration, but also a time for completions, endings, letting go.  Setting a positive mental tone and focusing on well-being during the Holidays will lead to ease in keeping New Year’s commitments, and carrying over to the New Year all the peace and joy of the Holiday Season.

Your Year Ahead

If you're like most people you begin a new year very excited about your goals, and take some new actions.  Soon your enthusiasm fizzles and you're right back where you started. 

Most people wait until January 1 to re-commit to their health and happiness.  It's important to mentally prepare yourself for the New Year. Tearing down old foundations that are not working and building sturdier new ones is essential to your success. This is an inside job, one that will end the cycle of trying and failing. Join me and learn to Pre-Pave for Success via webinar.

 ©Deborah Barr, 2009-16.  All rights reserved

Consider some professional guidance for the right nutrition and customized holistic health plan for reversing your health and weight issues, and removing the degenerations that cause them.  You can greatly improve every aspect of your physical, mental and emotional health with a customized holistic approach.   Schedule an Introductory Holistic Health and Nutrition session with Deborah Barr, 30-year Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor. You'll be on your way to better health. Sessions can be done by phone, skype, or at Pittsburgh office.


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Deborah Barr, 30-year Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor/Coach, speaker, and author, has helped thousands of clients reverse health and weight issues; achieve emotional harmony, radiant health, passion, peaceful living, work-life balance, and a life they love. In 1985 she founded Whole Health Resources, the premier Holistic Health Center in Pittsburgh. WHR’s mission is to promote the healing and development of body, mind and spirit, and to teach an understanding of the relationship between diet, attitudes, lifestyle and wellness. She offers free help through 2 e-newsletters, Holistic Weight Loss, and Whole Health Matters, and free articles. Subscribe to newsletters   She can be reached by calling 412.361.8600 or e-mailing


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