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Don’t Let Stress Put A Damper on Holiday Cheer

Here are some ways to unwind and relax during the frenzied holiday rush.

The holidays can be a time of great joy and fun memories, but they also bring stress with growing to-do lists and money concerns weighing us down. During this frenzied time, don’t forget to take time for yourself, whether that is a few minutes curled up on the couch with a book or a quick massage.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota lists several keys to managing stress.

• Recognizing Stress. Learn to recognize when you are under stress and what triggers it. Before you can change your response to stress, you need to recognize what your stressors are and how they affect you.

• Responding Better to Stress. Once you know what your stressors are, you can change how you respond to those situations. If a growing to-do list has you down, focus on the most critical and don’t move on until that one is done.

• Living a Healthy Life. If you are healthy, you are better able to handle stress. Get enough sleep, eat right, exercise. Take time for yourself. If you don’t, stress is harder to combat. Check out deals at your local exercise facility. Many have special offers during December.

Local fitness centers include the Grove and Veterans Memorial Community Center, Crossfit Mendota, Anytime Fitness, West St. Paul YMCA, Curves, Snap Fitness and the Southview Gym.

• Relaxing to Slow Down. Practice relaxation techniques daily and when you are stressed. When you are facing a stressor, pause for a moment. Then take a deep breath and slowly breathe out as you count to 10, BCBS recommends. This will help clear your mind so you can respond better.

Here are a few ways to unwind and recharge this holiday season.

Read a good book
Check out your local bookstore or the Inver Glen, Wentworth, Westcott or South St. Paul libraries for the newest bestsellers or tried-and-true classics. Nothing beats cozying up in front of the fireplace with a book.

Schedule dinner out
Turn off the stove and take a night away from the kitchen. Have fun and take time to unwind as a family. Try local favorites or try something new. 

Maid to order
There’s never time to unwind and recharge when the house is a mess. Don’t feel guilty about getting help with holiday cleaning. Take that time to do something you enjoy. Many local companies offer one-time house-cleaning services based on hourly fees. Check with friends or neighbors for suggestions. 

Take a spa day — or hour
No cell phone, no computer, just relaxation. Call or visit a spa to schedule an appointment. Even a few minutes for a manicure or a pedicure can do wonders to improve your attitude. 

The Christmas holidays come but once a year. Don’t become a Scrooge. Remember to take time for yourself.

How do you handle stress during the holidays? What stresses you the most during the holidays?

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