The holidays can be a very hectic time of year.  Everyone's stress level is through the roof, your eating habits are not the greatest, and your house is a holiday disaster!  This is just part of the season however, and you CAN make it through!  This year let me share some ways to make the season a little brighter.

1. Get & stay hydrated.  You probably hear this a lot, especially from us, but it's the TRUTH!  Think of it this way, the more calorie-free water you have in your stomach, the less calorie-laden food you are able to put in there which means less holiday overeating.  In addition, you will be flushing any toxins and other harmful substances out of your system if you do have a food related mishap.  Aim for at least 64oz per day.  It may seem like a lot, but when broken down, it's actually only three 24oz, or two 32oz.  That's completely possible, right?  If you still think this is unmanageable, at least drink 1-2 glasses of water before every meal.

2. Remember you can always go back for more.  Only take 1 spoonful (small if possible) of foods.  Load up on veggies, make them at least half of your plate.  Grains should be whole, not processed.  The best meat is lean, without lots of fat.  Also, try a variety of foods, more colors means more nutrients.

3. For gift ideas, let the family help you this holiday.  Have your spouse and children give you gift ideas for the holiday.  Give them the opportunity to share their opinions with you.  They might have different thougt on a gift for someone that maybe you didn't think of.   Further, they will have contributed and it will help brighten their spirits also.

4. Keeping the house clean around the holidays is always an uphill battle.  However, this is also a fantastic opportunity to involve the whole family.  Put on the latest dance or holiday music and have everyone dance and sing while they clean.  Make it fun instead of a chore so they like to do it and will want to help in the future.  Also, the dancing and singing will cheer everyone up and help to fight the stresses of the season.

5. If these ideas aren't working for you and the stress is still climbing, just take a few long, slow, deep breaths.  Concentrate on your breathing for a few minutes.  This will help to bring yourself back into focus.  Remember to breathe evenly.  Breathe in for a count of 4 and out for a count of 4.  Count SLOWLY.  This is not a race, you are relaxing your body.

6. Here comes the trainer talk.  Try to get exercise in as much as possible.  Even just a 10-minute walk around the block, or some simple stretching will do wonders for  your mood.  Further, you'll be in a better frame of mind for the remainder of your day.

7. Finally, keep in mind what the holidays are actually about.  Remember to do some random acts of kindness.  Hold the door for someone, smile at everyone, wish people a Happy Holiday.  Even a simple "Have a nice day" will go a long way.  Positivity is contagious.  If you start it, its a guarantee people around you will want to help spread it too.