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12 Steps of Christmas

Christmas is a hectic mishmash of family and friends and obligations. In a 4-week span, there are too many parties to attend, too many gifts to buy, and too much abundance of all things food. How do you stop the merry go round and get off? Allowing stress and anxiety into the mix strips the fun away and leaves us dreading this time of year. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I have included some of the easiest ways to overcome Christmas and make it one of the happiest times of the year

Plan your day the night before

Layout your clothes, have a nutritious breakfast, and have your medications ready. Don’t scramble in the morning.

Do the hardest things first

Complete the hardest tasks first thing in the morning when you have the most energy.

Regenerate with food and exercise

Have salads ready, cut up veggies and fruits, set aside time for a proper exercise regiment and refresh as often as necessary.

Don’t lose sight of your goals

Be true to yourself. If gaining weight is not on your to-do list, watch what you eat. If you have limited tolerance for alcohol, don’t drink it. Rest when you are tired.

Ask yourself, “Am I ok today?

Be truthful because being brave helps nobody.

Be grateful

Find 3 things every day to be grateful for. Keep a positive attitude and you will live longer by staying happier.

Reach out, reach in, and reach up

A wise man told me this when I left rehab. He said “If you are ever in need promise me this: Reach out and get help. Reach in and find your strength. Reach up and God will be there.”

Take care of yourself

Practice self-care unabashed, so that there will be something left for others that need you.

Never let anyone tell you what you need

Be aware of what you need and never lets others decide that for us. Be firm and stand your ground. Everyone will get over it.

Get help, you don’t have to feel this way

Let your doctor or social worker know how you feel. Push the shame and doubt away. We all need some help from time to time. Anxiety, stress or depression. Reach out for help.

Prioritize, plan, pace and position

Make lists and eliminate tasks that you don’t like to do. Delegate to others. Schedule breaks into your tasks, don’t do too much at one time. Stop before you get short of breath. Do higher energy tasks earlier in the day and before you get tired. Go at a slower rate, stop if you get short of breath. Take time to catch your breath and get your breath back to a normal rhythm. Break large tasks into smaller ones. DO NOT talk while working.

Position yourself so that tasks are completed at waist-level. Use a bar stool in the kitchen. Keep common items within reach. Eliminate the need to bend over. Have a grabber ready for things above your shoulder or below your waist.

Pursed lips breathe

Breathe through your nose, to warm the air coming into your lungs…as if you are smelling the roses. Hold that breath for a few seconds, then release through pursed lips…as if you were blowing out a candle, but at a distance.

Merry Christmas to All!


This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Janet Plank moderator
    2 months ago

    Great article Barbara, it looks like you touched everything. Merry Christmas!
    Janet (site moderator)

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