THE BLOG

What Are You Doing for You This Holiday Season?

12/10/2012 05:07 pm ET | Updated Feb 09, 2013
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Get everything ready for the holiday party at work. Check. Bake cookies for my daughter's Christmas pageant. Check. Get all of my Christmas shopping done. Check. Oh no! I forgot about Aunt Carol!

Sound familiar? The holiday season is upon us. Time for merriment, good cheer, Salvation Army bell ringers, eggnog, yule logs, and stress.

Have you thought of what you need to do to get through it? No, I'm not talking about aforementioned holiday gift lists. I am talking about you. Have you thought about what you need so you don't go crazy at some point before the New Year?

If you're like most people, probably not. But like that old saying, "Healer, heal thyself," if you don't take care of yourself this holiday season: 1) no one else will, and 2) you'll likely get sick. It's hard to take care of everyone and everything else when you feel six feet under with the flu.

What to do? Don't stress. ADAPT.

A -- Acknowledge that things are going to be a bit crazier than usual this time of year. It's okay. This too shall pass.

D -- Don't sweat the small stuff. Holidays are not about perfection. It really doesn't matter if one of Rudolph's ears is on crooked in your son's holiday pageant costume. Focus on getting it done and getting through to the New Year.

A -- Accept that things are going to happen that waylay your best laid plans and intentions. You'll likely find yourself relying quite a bit on Plan B or C or D this holiday season. That's okay. (See D above.)

P -- Pretend you have it all together. As my colleague likes to say, "Fake it 'til you make it." There's something behind that. If you pretend that you have it all together, you likely will. It's kind of like how smiling can make you happier.

T -- Troubleshoot. Because things aren't going to go as planned (see Accept), make sure that you have a Plan B or C or D to fall back on. That way, you can gracefully slide into Plan B and pretend that's the way you intended for things to work anyway.

If I had my way, I'd stick an S on the end of that. As in ADAPTS. Why?

S -- Self-care. Make sure you take some time for you this holiday season. I know, I know, "But I don't have time." Unfortunately, you'll have even less time if you get sick. An apple a day and all that. So take 10 minutes a day to meditate, go for walks a few times a week, watch a funny movie, whatever it takes. Just make sure to carve out some you time in your busy day.

But if you really don't have 10 minutes a day to spare, make sure you eat healthy. I know those holiday cookies are tempting, but in addition to contributing to holiday weight gain, the typical holiday treats aren't exactly packed with nutrients. Feel free to indulge, just make sure you've had your veggies first. Wash your hands and make sure your family members are doing it too -- put a sticky note by the bathroom sink or in the kitchen if you have to, but hand washing helps keep those germs at bay, which is critical this time of year. If your hands get too dry, consider using hand sanitizer instead -- the non-alcohol varieties won't dry your hands out. You can buy small bottles for the car or your purse. And last but not least, stay hydrated. I know, it's cold outside, and a cool glass of water may not sound that appetizing. That's okay. Drink hot tea, warm milk, whatever you like that is mostly water and will keep you hydrated (no, eggnog doesn't count -- alcohol is dehydrating).

Take my advice and you should start the New Year healthy, happy and (relatively) stress free!

For more by Mary Pritchard, click here.

For more on holiday stress, click here.