December 1: Breathe! Take a deep breath in through your nose to the count of 4, hold for the count of 4, exhale through your mouth to the count of 4, and relax to the count of 4. Repeat 4 times as needed throughout the day.

December 2: Walk this way…walking has a tranquilizing effect on the brain, decreases anxiety and improves sleep.  Aim for ½ hour brisk walk daily.

December 3:  Lonely? Seek company, call a friend, go out for coffee, share your feelings with someone you trust, ask for what you need, volunteer, consider seeing a professional.

December 4: Take the stress out of shopping with a shopping plan.  This will help keep from over-spending and decrease the time spent browsing.

December 5: Simplify.  Cut the to-do list in half.  Remember, the sun will still rise tomorrow if you don’t get it done.

December 6: Be flexible.  This is important anytime of the year and especially important during the Holiday Season.

December 7: Breathe! Take a deep breath in through your nose and see yourself breathing in what you need..peace, serenity, strength.  Now exhale through your mouth and see the sadness, pain and loneliness floating off into the distance on your breath.

December 8: Write it down.  Keep a journal about your feelings and experiences.

December 9: “Say Cheese.” (no selfies please) Just smiling can help you feel relaxed and happy.

December 10: Avoid Social Media. Comparing yourself to those images of “perfect people” can be upsetting and increase your stress.

December 11: Go out. If family members have difficulty around the dinner table, consider eating out.  Being in public discourages bad behavior.

December 12: Laugh, laugh, laugh!  Laughter is known to reduce stress hormones and improve the immune system.

December 13: Say “good-bye” to perfection. Instead focus your energy on enjoying the people in your life.

December 14: Do less, enjoy more. The shopping, the cooking, the sending cards, the events and the family can be overwhelming.  Saying no to at least one thing is self-caring.  You don’t have to do it ALL.

December 15: Routines are important.  Don’t squeeze in more holiday and squeeze out healthy routines you have already established.

December 16: Breathe. Close your eyes and take in a long, slow breath as you visualize a relaxing scene.  Focus on the details such as sights, sounds and smells. Breathe out slowly through your mouth. Repeat.

December 17: Think positive. See challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.  Just focusing on the negative is likely to trigger the body’s stress response just as if there was a real threat.

December 18: Turn off that self-critical voice.  Devise a positive affirmation that works for you.  Maybe it is a simple, “I can handle this, I am calm.”

December 19: Spice it Up.  Spicy foods are known to trigger the release our body’s chemicals (endorphins) that activate feelings of euphoria and well-being.

December 20: Let the music play.  Hearing music can relax blood vessels and increase blood flow; both are calming and good for your heart.

December 21: Timing is everything.  Eat breakfast before your coffee.  Caffeine on an empty stomach can cause blood sugar to spike leading to irritability and attention problems.

December 22: No Tech Time. Have everyone turn off the tech and tune in to each other.

December 23: Plan a date with your spouse.  It can be a simple walk around the neighborhood to an elaborate dinner. Focus on the importance and value of your relationship

December 24: Call a Time-out. Before you react give yourself a time-out. Step away from the stressor, look away, put the caller on hold. Breathe and use your affirmation.

December 25: Delegate. Tell your guests what to bring for the Holiday Feast, assign each family member a specific chore. Or better yet, put all of the tasks in a hat and have them draw for their assignment.

December 26: What’s that smell? Certain citrus fragrances (lemon or orange) boost feelings of well-being. Use citrus hand sanitizers or soap. Also calming are basil, bay, chamomile, lavender, anise and thyme.

December 27: Seek support. Talk with your friends, family or a professional about your feelings.

December 28: Breathe, relax your tongue and your shoulders. Warm your hands by holding a cup of hot cocoa.

December 29: Catch your children being helpful, positive, and respectful, caring.

December 30: Out with the old, in with the new.  Start new traditions, explore different cultural customs or invite a colleague for dinner.

December 31: Make a happy memory to look back on next year.

“Peace doesn’t require two people, it only requires one.  It has to be you.  The problem begins and ends there.”  ~ Byron Katie

“Peace.  It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”  ~Author Unknown