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Conquering Holiday Stress Naturally: Julie Lemerond of A Mindfulness Life Center shares tips on how to experience greater calm.

Nov 27, 2016 05:13PM ● By Julie Lemerond

It’s that time of year when the days get shorter and the to-do lists grow longer. As joy-filled as the holiday season is, it’s also a time when we can easily get caught up in a flurry of seemingly never-ending activity and feel pulled in every direction. But there are ways to stay centered and focused, despite the busyness surrounding us. Here are a few tips that will help.

Visualize being the eye of the storm. When there are a million and one things trying to get our attention, we can consciously stop and picture ourselves being the calm amidst the storm around us, rather than unconsciously allowing outside forces to pull us every which way. Try doing this right now. Notice how the effect is instantaneous; our breath immediately slows and deepens and our mind instantly clears and focuses itself. Keep coming back to this feeling whenever we start feeling pulled.

Say no. We don’t have to do every single thing asked of us, and we don’t have to go to every single event we are invited to. Plan ahead and only say yes to the things that will increase our joy.

Make sleep a priority. It’s easy to spend an hour or two at the end of the day zoning out with the TV, relaxing with a glass of wine or scrolling away on social media. We can do ourselves a favor and even if it’s just once per week, demand of ourselves that we go to bed early (and maybe even throw in a bath beforehand). Turning off any outside stimulus and getting a few extra hours of shut-eye is amazingly beneficial to the body, mind and spirit, and will help us stay grounded as the month goes on.

Eat well. Yet another activity to get the boot this time of year can be healthy eating habits. There are platters of treats on the counters at work, specialty holiday drinks at social events and even if our willpower is rock-solid, we will be tempted. It’s okay to indulge (we are here to live life, after all), but make sure that we start each day with a healthy breakfast and take care of ourselves throughout the day by eating well and drinking plenty of water.

We can set ourselves up for success this holiday season so that we will be able to handle all of the pressures coming our way with ease, grace and joy.

Julie LemerondJulie Lemerond is the general manager at A Mindfulness Life Center, in Scottsdale. For more information, call 480-207-6016 or visit