(BPT) - The holidays are upon us, and this time of year can feel like a whirlwind. While the extra time with friends and family and the seemingly endless festivities are often fun and exciting, they also come with their fair share of stress. Taking a few simple steps to manage your stress will help you survive all the holiday hype, decorative distractions and shopping madness so you can keep the “happy” in your holidays.

1. Make a list and check it twice — your sanity will thank you

Do yourself a favor and take a page out of Santa’s playbook — make a holiday list! Lists can be your best friend during the holidays, from helping you manage your holiday schedule and to-do lists, to keeping track of gifts for family and friends. So make a list this holiday season and avoid fighting the frantic, last-minute shopping crowds — your sanity will thank you.

2. Take time out to escape the madness

The phrase “go to your room” may bring tears to your kid’s eyes, but it can have quite a different ring to an adult. As fun as the non-stop holiday music and endless parade of family and friends can be, sanity calls for the occasional break from some of the holiday chaos. Make your bedroom a holiday stress-free zone and don’t be afraid to give yourself a “time-out.” It may be the perfect solution to making your holiday cheery and bright.

3. Remember... less is more

For the sake of your mental health, don’t say “yes” to everyone and everything. Though social media may try to convince you that nothing less than handcrafted holiday cards and do-it-yourself decorations will do, ask yourself if this is really how you want to spend your free time. Don’t create more work for yourself if it’s not going to be fun for you, and remember, less really can be more. If you need any proof, just recall all those times the kids in your family ditched their brand new toys in favor of playing with the boxes they came in!

4. Don’t miss out on all the fun — get a flu vaccine

As if the holidays are not stressful enough, the last thing you want is for you or your family to get the flu. The flu has the potential to be more serious than you think. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that hundreds of thousands of Americans require hospitalization from flu-related complications each year. The single best way to prevent seasonal flu and reduce the risk of spreading it to others is to get vaccinated each year. Help protect you and your family from the flu, so you don’t have to miss out on Aunt Betty’s fruit cake.

And, while you’re getting vaccinated against flu at your doctor’s office or pharmacy, ask about other vaccines that may be recommended for you and your family. After all, vaccines aren’t just for little kids — vaccines may help to maintain health and wellness all year long and across a lifetime.

For more information, visit VaccinesandYou.com and HealthyWomen.org.

This information is provided by Merck and HealthyWomen.

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10/17

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