The day we usher the month of December in the door, the stress piles on.  Class recitals, Christmas carols, shopping for those perfect holiday gifts, arranging trips to see family, coordinating schedules and menus…it can stress you out just thinking about it!  Here are six go-to tips that help me relax and keep some perspective during this chaotic month:

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1.  Exercise!  It’s the first thing we drop out of our schedules when our schedules get hectic, but it is more important than ever to keep up our exercise regime.  It helps us blow off steam, build strength and endurance, and even relax.  My favorite is a hard-core vinyasa flow yoga class, maybe with a little meditation built in.

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2.  Weekly schedule.  We all know how planners can help organize our lives, but during most of the year they can fall by the wayside.  During December, they are a must!  I like to break them out by week and post it on the refrigerator.  That way my family is constantly reminded of what’s coming up.  Monthly is great too, but frankly during this time of the year, it can be a little overwhelming.  Break it up into smaller chunks for your sanity.

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3.  Have fun! It might take a little extra work during this busy time, but schedule in a little fun.  If you don’t have time for an outing on the weekend, designate a small amount of time to laugh and feel the joy of the holiday spirit.  I love to take five minutes to play a holiday song and dance crazy with my kids before dinner.

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4.  Remember what it’s like to be a kid.  Even if we can schedule a little fun, it is hard to feel the unbridled joy that you’re children are probably experiencing during this time of the year.  You may not feel it first hand, but consider the huge smiles they will have when they open the present they are searching for.  Recall the wonderful holiday memories you have tucked away from a time when life was simpler.

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5.  Indulge.  We put so much pressure on ourselves to keep to our rules during the holidays. Don’t spend too much.  Don’t eat too much.  If we aren’t mindful, it can be easy to forget about our goals.  However, too much pressure can lead us to buckle.  Allow yourself a few times or places to go overboard — but don’t be impulsive!  Choose wisely those times you want to indulge.  The planning will make the reward feel so much better!

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6.  Give.  During this time of the year, every aspect of our lives feels stretched to the limit.  We have no spare time, no spare cash, no spare patience.  However, I find there is no better time to give.  The joy in making someone else’s holiday dreams come true is unparalleled.  Find a local charity that needs a pair of hands, some gifts, or other donations.  Get the family involved.  You will never regret it.

There is no doubt that December is a hectic month.  It’s your task to take the craziest time of the year and remember, even for us moms, it is the most wonderful time too!