Achieving optimal health is not only about what you put in your body and on your body, but also your state of mind.  The holidays can be a hectic and emotional time for many people. Stress decreases your immune system, which may lead to acute illnesses such as a cold or the flu and over time, chronic illnesses.  Keeping stress to a minimum will be your key to staying healthy this holiday season.

Here are 10 tips to help you to stay calm, healthy, and stress-free this holiday season:

1. Stress-Free & Healthy Holiday Season

Commit to it! Commit to yourself that you will have a stress free and healthy holiday season.  Now say it aloud. “I commit to a stress-free and healthy holiday season.”  By stating something aloud, you are making a commitment to yourself and to the universe.  If you drift from this commitment, don’t give up on your goal; just recommit to yourself and the universe.

2. Holiday Cards

Does the idea of buying, writing, and mailing hundreds of holiday cards make you feel as if you are beginning a hike up Mount Everest?  If so, send a holiday e-card this year.  Just think – with the press of a button, poof!  You are done!  Not only will you be calm as a cucumber, you will save a tree (or several hundred), lower your carbon footprint, and save money. Now if that didn’t just lighten your load, I am not sure what will.

3. Gift Giving

Don’t know what to get that special someone in your life?  Does the idea of running around, trying to find a parking space, and fighting crowds at the mall get your head spinning?  Then do it online!  Better yet, give to the less fortunate by making an online donation in your loved one’s name.  Every year I make donations to The Miracle Foundation in my friend’s and family’s names and I asked that they all do the same for me.  The end result was not only stress-free gift-giving, but also the heart-warming feeling that orphans in India have gifts for the holidays.

4. Party Hopping

Just say no!  Parties are meant to be a celebration, fun, and full of joy.  If you’re not feeling it – just say no. Don’t go to a party out of obligation, and don’t feel guilty about it.  While all your friends are out party hopping, stay home, take a hot bath, go to the gym, or get a massage.  Do whatever it is that is going to help keep you stress-free and healthy.  If it is a party that you do want to attend, then say yes and have a great time!  To help stay on track with your goal of optimal health, I suggest that you eat before you go so you are not tempted by the oh-too-sweet or oh-too-fattening foods.  Keep alcohol to a minimum, or better yet opt for sparkling water and a slice of lemon.

5. Party Hosting

If you are the party planning type, opt for catering; this will save you time and the stress of going grocery shopping.  Have you been to Whole Foods lately?  It’s a madhouse, and Christmas is still a few weeks away!  If possible, stick with healthy, gluten-free, and organic caterers.  I like Word of Mouth.  Don’t be tempted with the leftovers!  Instead, donate them to someone in need.

6. Travel

If your holiday includes travel plans, whether it be by car or plane, make sure you drink plenty of water and pack your own meals and snacks. Don’t get caught off guard and have to settle for unhealthy airport food or fast food.  Also, make sure you stretch – get up and walk around on the plane or make frequent stops if traveling by car.  If your flight is delayed, no worries – use the opportunity to get a little exercise (take a walk around the airport), catch up on sleep, meditate, deep breathe or call a friend.

7. Hydrate

Make sure you don’t forget to hydrate.  Drinking several liters of water a day is a must, especially in the winter season.  I recommend you don’t leave home without it – a stainless steel water bottle filled with filtered water, that is. KleanKanteen water bottles are my favorite.  If you’re interested in filtering your water, my favorite home filtration system is from Aquasana. Use our coupon code DRMYERS to receive a discount on your purchase!

8. Sleep

Make sure you keep your regular sleep schedule and get at least 8 hours a night.  If your mind is racing with holiday thoughts, try listening to a soothing meditation mp3 in bed while deep breathing.  Let go of the day’s stressful events. Visualize everything you are grateful for, and feel the joyful blessings present in your life.

9. Breathe

It is physiologically impossible to panic or be stressed while taking five slow, deep breaths.  During the holiday season, no matter how much you try, you will eventually get caught waiting in traffic, a long line or for your spouse to finish tying their shoes – just relax into the moment with five slow deep breaths.  You will be amazed how light you feel and it will do your body and mind a world of good.

10. Enjoy

Just let go and relax! Remember, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!  And with all the time I have just saved you – you will have more time to laugh, love and enjoy this holiday season!

Wishing you and your family a stress-free and super healthy holiday season!