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I didn't think I was feeling the stress of holiday time until I spent last weekend in warm and sunny LA and felt NO stress whatsoever. I saw Santa Claus on the sand. Meant nothing. I saw poinsettias in pots outdoors (funny). Meant nothing. I saw people trying to make snow and create slides for kids. Again, meant nothing. I get back to Minnesota, and all of a sudden, the lists, the things, the remindres, the EXPECTATIONS and the STRESS that comes with it all. I thought I was good at this!

When I coached at Weight Watchers, I remember so clearly how everyone would be talking about holidays, the foods, the baking, the managing it all. Lots of excitement back then. And then, it never failed, by January 1, everyone was so so so glad "it" was over.

Let's get back to expectations. OF YOURSELF right now. What is reasonable during a busy time of year? With your eating? Your sleeping? Your exercising? Your wallet? What feels like a manageable expectation that you care to place upon yourself? Is cutting back reasonable? Is socializing less or more, reasonable? Is creating more relaxation sounding good? YOU get to decide, and YOU get to change your mind when the moments arrive. If weather strikes, or the dreaded flu, you get to change your mind. That is a reasonable expectation to have of yourself.

I am hearing more people back off on the overdoing and lean into the "sane space" of enjoying the holidays. I am being very mindful of this myself. Anything that comes up that is "extra" and not required this month is a hard NO from me. I don't have it in me. No apologies, no regrets. Just no.

I am encouraging you to take stock in how you are doing so far. How is this month going for you? Are you feeling energized or depleted? Are you feeling stressed or over sugared? Are there holiday things hanging out there like obligations that you can let go of? Are there exciting, festive things that are waiting for you that make you excited for this time of year? Get going! I love holiday shows. We have three things booked--one at the Dakota--one at the Jungle Theatre and one at the Walker. I love that. No wrapping. Lou made the reservations. Just show up. That I can do!

Pace yourself, friends. Take good care of yourself and the regular routines that you keep like hydrating, eating healthfully mostly right most of the time, journaling, exercising, taking frequent brain/body/breath breaks. Pace yourself through the day, the week, the month. If something feels WRONG or out of alignment with how you'd like to be thinking, feeling or doing--then just notice it--let it go--and start over the way you'd like. It's OK to make different choices. You aren't a scrooge. You are just taking care of yourself. That's the best gift of all. It's a 365 days of the year treat you always deserve. HO HO HO YES YES YES to that!

xo Coach Karen :)) sometimes known as Karen Claus

PS If you are finding yourself extra stressed this holiday season because of life--loss--people--then book a complimentary coaching call--and let's see if we can get you back on track.

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