Amy Culver - The Queen of Lean
November 20, 2011    

TV interview:
Morning Scramble program

Reducing stress

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Amy Culver

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TV interview:  Morning Scramble program

For readers in the Phoenix area, I will be on AZ-TV's Morning Scramble program this week. 

8:00 AM, Tuesday November 22nd - cable ch 13 / broadcast ch 7.1

Reducing stress

As we head into Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's, the stress level in your life has probably begun to rise.  However, you have a lot more control over it than you might think.  Let's take a look at some ways you can keep things a bit more manageable over the next couple of months.

The first thing to keep in mind is that you are allowed to say "No" sometimes.  Don't assume that every invitation comes with a non-negotiable obligation.  Prioritization is always key.  We have a tendency to over-extend ourselves throughout the holidays.  Doing this only contributes to January exhaustion. 

Having to "go go go" for two months also increases sugar cravings as your body is going to want something to keep it moving.  Pick and choose which invitation and obligations are most important to you.  And yes, there are some that, if declined, will result in consequences that you don't want to deal with.  Give some priority to those too, because the consequences will add stress. 

Consider all the other extra chores you have to do such as shopping, cooking, wrapping and decorating.  Then, if you still feel you have a little time left to give, decide which additional invitations you would most like to accept.  Another option is to attend, but for only part of the time.  You can go to a party and leave early so that you can still get a good night's sleep, or have a bit of time to relax at home before going to bed.  And speaking of time to relax, don't forget to schedule a bit of down time for yourself.  If you do this, you will have a much better time at the functions you do attend, and the other people will enjoy your company more as well.

While you have your calendar out for social planning, why not add in your meal planning as well?  If you are planning to attend a party, that's probably one night you won't have to cook.  Make a list of easy-to-fix meals that are prepared with staples.  Here are some examples: 

• Pasta and marinara
• Ham steak with frozen potato/vegetable mix
• Grilled cheese sandwiches with soup
• Family-size frozen meals
• Frozen fish or chicken with boxed mashed potatoes
• Hot Dogs with frozen sweet potato fries

All of these meals can be purchased now, and kept on-hand for a quick and easy dinner.  Plan a shopping trip to purchase enough for one or two meals of each item on your list.

On nights when you have a little more time, cook things that will make two or three meals and freeze them for leftovers.  Use your crockpot or oven, and you can be busy with other things, such as wrapping presents, while dinner cooks.  You will save time, money and calories if you can have a simple quick meal at home rather than having to eat out several extra times over the next couple of months.

Plug the meals into your calendar and you are all set!  Yes, you might need to make changes as the weeks progress, but the plan is flexible enough to accommodate that.  The staples and frozen items will keep, and you can cook the oven or crockpot meal another night.

Remember, it doesn't all have to be perfect, your family will enjoy the holidays more if you are relaxed and having a nice time rather than full of stress and anxiety. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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