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The holidays can be an emotional roller coaster, so it’s important to make a plan for managing your time and stress. Then stick to that plan; it can help maintain your health and well-being throughout the long holiday season. Here are some ideas.

1. Be a smart party manager Remember, you don’t have to accept every invitation. Try not to overschedule, and give yourself permission to decline a dinner party or event. If you’re hosting, remember that you don’t have to cook everything from scratch—it’s okay to buy prepared foods. Also, ask guests to bring a dish, and allow others to help with preparation and cleanup. 2. Don't let healthy habits slide Going to a party? Remember that overindulgence can lead to feeling ill. And don’t starve yourself before you go; that strategy can result in consuming too many sweets and unhealthy foods. Instead, try to eat fruits and veggies before parties—they’re packed with nutrients and will make you feel fuller. And continue to be active: The CDC recommends 2.5 hours of exercise a week. 3. Respect your feelings Some years can be difficult. You may be dealing with medical or financial issues or have experienced a significant loss. It’s important to honor and express these feelings. If you’re struggling, consider confiding in a trusted family member or friend. 4. Take a breather Listen to your body. When it says you’re tired, take time to relax and rest. According to the Mayo Clinic, spending just 15 minutes by yourself (without distractions) may help refresh and revitalize you. Other stress relievers: listening to calming music or getting a massage. 5. Be mindful of germs Holiday season is also flu season. According to the CDC, washing your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, can help prevent germs from spreading to family and friends. And if it’s cold or wet outside, bundle up with layers, including a hat, scarf, gloves and waterproof boots.

Did You Know?

Flu symptoms generally emerge within four days of exposure and may last as long as a week. The large number of people at events like holiday parties can increase your vulnerability. Stay healthy by washing your hands often.