It’s friggin nipply out isn’t it?! And though I am not a fan of the cold weather, I am a huge fan of the holiday season.

Not only is it our busiest season at the spa (YAY!), I love spending time cooking and making memories with my kids, my family, and loved ones. The decorations, the cozy evenings by the fireplace, the music, the hot chocolate, just YUM.

As amazing and magical as the holidays are though, they can be stressful for many because of the pressure we put on ourselves and others.

First, there’s the family crap. We can put so much pressure on ourselves and our families to have these perfect Norman Rockwell-esque gatherings, where all of our rosy-cheeked kin get together for a cheery love-fest.

It’s totally unrealistic, and the truth is, even if you have the most functional of families, buttons are gonna get pushed one too many times by our nagging sister-in-law or our crazy mom.

We may crave meaningful connections but leave feeling empty or sad that, it just didn’t feel as good as we had really hoped. And, that’s ok.

I’m giving you permission to take care of YOU this holiday season.
Here are 7 things you can do to reduce stress & stay feeling great no matter what:

1. Vow to hydrate. Drink more water (with lemon) and juice your bootie off. Organic juices. If you know you’re headed to a holiday gathering, prep your juice ingredients the night before. Make an extra serving or two and drink it on the ride home or once you settle in. *This is a great way to alkalize and energize your body after a night of libations;) You may think you’ll stick to your juicing routine, but when you’re worn out (or hung over) it’s a lot easier to stop at Starbucks. That is, unless you’re prepared!

2. Bundle Up & Go on a walk.
 Get outside and get some fresh air to re-fuel, and get some much-needed mood boosting Vitamin D!

3. Take a nap.  
Set your alarm for 30 minutes or less, lay down, close your eyes, breathe, and relax. This isn’t meant to be a long, deep sleep. Short, light naps restore alertness, cognitive function, and leave you feeling refreshed. They also just flat out improve your mood and help you think more clearly. Studies show that in just 6 minutes of sleep, wakefulness can be restored and performance and learning can be enhanced. Cool right?! If you have trouble relaxing, search for some meditation, relaxation, or reiki music/apps. They will have you catching z’s like a pro.

4. Follow the black dress plan. Listen, a good black dress is a staple in my closet. It’s simple, it’s slimming, it’s classy. And the same approach can be applied to food. You don’t need much to be glamourous at an event or in the kitchen. Be realistic about how much time you’re going to have to cook between now and the new year and plan accordingly. Batch cooking soups, stews, casseroles and freezing a second serving will cut your time in the kitchen in half. (Click here for healthy holiday recipes) Simplicity during the holidays wins the race!

5. Get organized. Whether you’re a family of one or many, getting organized will ease your mind a LOT. One day this week, take 15 minutes to look at the calendar. Do you need to coordinate with your partner on something? Any questions weighing on you? Maybe there are a few dates on the calendar you want to cancel or a weekend you want to block out for no obligations. Get everything you can on paper so that you do not have to hold it in your head or worry about it any longer.

6. Pamper yourself. Take an Epsom salt bath, luxuriate yourself in an essential oil massage before bedtime, for insomnia massage 3-4 drops of DoTerra peppermint essential oil on your neck & add a warm neck pillow (heaven!), get a professional massage or spa treatment, paint your toes…just whatever makes you feel good. You deserve it, you need it. It’s not optional.

7. Practice gratitude. Write in your journal, write a lover letter and send it via email or snail mail to someone you love and appreciate, meditate/pray and thank God for all of the abundance you have in your life right now. It is a huge mood-booster <3
Think about these tips as an investment not only in yourself, but in everyone around you too—if you’re a cranky puss everyone suffers. You’ll be giving them your best, when you’re putting yourself first and giving yourself a rest.