The holidays present an array of demands — parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name just a few. But with some practical tips, you can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays.

You may even end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would.

1. Be realistic.

The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones

2. Reach out.

If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.

3. Stick to a budget.

Try these alternatives:

Donate to a charity in someone’s name.

Give homemade gifts.

Start a family gift exchange.

4. Don’t abandon healthy habits.

Try these suggestions:

Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go hungry.

Get plenty of sleep, hydrate.Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.

Continue to take your medications as prescribed and check your blood sugars routinely.

5. Take a breather.

Taking “walk  breaks.” 

Listening to soothing music.

Get a massage.

Read a book.

Excerpts from Mayo Clinic, written by Sue Olson, RD, LD.

As Nutrition Program Coordinator of the Weight Sense, Healthy Transfomation and nutrition programs, Sue has provided nutrition counseling at DMC Primary Care since 1999. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Food and Nutrition from Framingham State College. Sue has also completed graduate courses in Physical Education and Sports Nutrition at the University of New Hampshire.