Diane Sanford shares some simple advice that is too easily overlooked to help you stress less and live better during the festive season.

The holidays are here with fun-filled and stress-filled times sandwiched together, not unlike raising children, work, marriage and other life pursuits. So, here are some recommendations to make the holidays calmer and happier.

is-the-holiday-season-stressfulFirst, have realistic expectations of yourself. Many of us feel disappointed because our “fairytale images” don’t materialize. Instead, focus on feeling good from the inside out. Build a fire and roast marshmallows, shop with a friend, or take a long walk in the woods. Meditate, workout, read, or listen to music. Feed your soul.

Second, have realistic expectations of others. No one’s family or friends are perfect, and the holidays won’t change this. Since we can’t change them, we need to rely on ourselves to gather what’s positive and let go of the negative. Create new family traditions so they don’t stir up bad memories. If a situation becomes too negative, leave.

Likewise, don’t take relationship stress too personally. If your partner snaps about household clutter because he’s stringing Christmas lights while baking cookies, understand it’s his problem. Don’t let him or her take his/her bad mood out on you but don’t react poorly either. After all, love is the true intention of the season and it starts with you. Don’t take things personally and you’re more likely to remain kind.

To read more about how you can stress less and live better all year, check out my new book for guided exercises and questions for reflection. Follow me at Twitter and Facebook for conversation and support.

Watch Dr. Diane Sanford in conversation with Kathleen Kendall-Tackett:

Mindfulness and the Goddess Myth

Mindfulness, Women, and Moods

The Four Pillars of Health

Top 3 Tips for Practicing Gratitude

And see:

7 Tips to Save Your Sanity

How to Be in the Moment

Just Breathe

Rules of the House

Spring Cleaning from the Inside Out

Top 3 Tips for Stressing Less During the Holidays