At age 40, Holly Mosier felt like she had hit a wall. “[It was] hard to come out of my bedroom at times. I was a wife, mother, stepmother, trial lawyer… trying to blend a family and maintain some semblance of peace, joy, health and vitality, and I was failing miserably,” says Holly. She sought solutions everywhere she could think of to find tools that she could work in to her life despite being a very busy professional and mother.
Despite searching in books, seminars, classes, medical studies, experts, and television shows, as she looked for practical, efficient solutions, and Holly never found the answers she was looking for, she was able to develop her own set of tools to create a “lifestyle that balances the needs of the mind, body, and spirit in a practical, efficient way.” After working these techniques into her own life and seeing the result, Holly put them together in her book Stress Less, Weigh Less. Holly has now expanded her techniques to create the following tips for handling holiday stress.
1. Holly uses a tool that she calls “opting out” to minimize stress – she suggests opting out of:
Celebrating the holiday on the actual “day,” Holly has been doing this for years. With a blended family, holiday stress increased ten-fold when trying to negotiate time with her children on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. By choosing a different day to celebrate, there is more time to celebrate and less stress associated with accommodating everyone. Maybe celebrating Christmas on December 25 works for you and your family, but you can still opt out of cooking the entire meal or serve the meal on some beautiful holiday paper plates to save time and relieve the stress of clean up.
Overspending on gifts. Overspending is a common holiday misstep, which causes holiday stress (and its ugly effects of increased appetite, fatigue and illness) to trail you into the next year as you attempt to pay off holiday bills. Opt to create a reasonable budget that you can actually afford, and stick to it.
Attending every holiday event. We all need some downtime to rejuvenate, but during the holidays we frequently feel pressured to accept every invitation. Holly finds it impossible to fully enjoy events when she arrives in a state of depletion. Take a day to recuperate in-between big gatherings. Determine your need for downtime, then only accept invitations that you truly want to enjoy and fit into your schedule.
2. Fit in quick and easy workouts in between holiday errands. Holly’s 10-Minute-Yoga incorporates deep breathing and chest-opening exercises that help maintain the body and mind. She has quick workouts you can do in the airport, in the kitchen, wrapping presents, or sitting in your car!
3. Keep simple, healthy, holiday recipes on hand. Holly uses seasonal ingredients in recipes that are easy and kid-tested including:
- Holly’s Cheesy Chicken: Two chicken breasts covered in Swiss and provolone cheese, baked in cream of mushroom soup and topped with bread crumbs for only 425 calories.
- Holly’s Baked Apples: Cinnamon-baked, sweet apples that are only 100 calories each! Perfect for dessert, or a sweet side.
- Holly’s Pita Pizza Taco: Holly uses 1 whole-wheat pita, ¼c spaghetti sauce and 2oz of low-fat shredded mozzarella to create a tasty and fulfilling taco – and it’s only 365 calories! These and 50 other five ingredient or less recipes can be found in Stress Less, Weigh Less.
Discussing these ideas, Holly was enthusiastic and hopeful. It was my pleasure to interview her. Opting out is one of my favorite tools for managing stress. I am grateful for the reminder to make sure that I work in exercise in spurts throughout the day during this holiday season.
What is your favorite tip to manage holiday stress?