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'Tis the Season for Excess: 7 Areas You Shouldnít Overindulge
To help you create a balanced, healthy holiday season, here are seven areas in which Americans tend to overindulge.

Make sure you're not over extending yourself in some key areas of the holiday season.

There isnít a magic formula for staying within healthy boundaries. Thatís why itís important to take your temperature in several key areas for the next few weeks.”
For most Americans, the weeks between now and New Yearís are some of the busiest of the year. When weíre not shopping, cooking or decorating, weíre socializing, eating or traveling to the next event on the calendar. Yes, we mean well when we cram our time so full of activities and obligations: We want to have fun. We want to spend time with loved ones. We want to celebrate, eat good food and look our best while doing it.

But often, we end up overdoing it. Instead of savoring seasonal cheer, we find ourselves irritable, stressed and exhausted as we fall more and more behind on our to-do lists. This time of year, most of us get caught up in the seasonal frenzy and we operate on the belief that more is better. In multiple areas, itís easy to inadvertently cross the line from "healthy" to "too much," leaving ourselves inadequate margins of time and energy.

As an experienced image consultant who focuses on the entire body-mind-spirit connection, I know that balance looks and feels different to everyone. There isnít a magic formula for staying within healthy boundaries. Thatís why itís important to take your temperature in several key areas for the next few weeks. Yes, going overboard might be tempting and easy to rationalize, but not at the expense of your well-being. When you stay focused on honoring your needs and values, youíll stand the best chance of creating a fulfilling holidayóand of beginning the new year in a good place physically and mentally.

Here, I point out seven key areas in which you should be careful not to overindulge:

1. The calendar crunch. Cocktail parties. Potlucks. Gift exchanges. End-of-year company celebrations. Concerts. FundraisersÖ and the list goes on. These events are staples of the holiday season because theyíre supposed to be enjoyable. And they can beÖ but only if you curate your schedule.

Avoid going to too many events or attending the wrong ones. As you pencil things in on your calendar, ask yourself: How much time do I need to recharge between events? How much time should I set aside to complete personal tasks? Will spending time with certain groups of people energize me or drain me?

2. The parade of requests. Since seasonal events donít plan themselves, chances are youíll be asked to pitch in with your time, talents, energy, and money. As the requests come rolling in, resist the urge to automatically say "yes" to everything.

You donít have to plan your companyís holiday party just because you did so last year. You donít have to stay up till 2 a.m. baking cookies for your childís class. You donít have to host every member of your extended family for a holiday dinner. Keep your limits in mind and practice saying "no." Donít give away so much of your energy that you have none left to enjoy this time of year!

3. The commercial frenzy. Gifts. Clothes. Food. Travel. Decorations. More gifts and more food. There are a million and one things that Americans spend money on over the holidays. The problem is, as you walk through crowded malls and watch endless streams of red-and-green commercials, itís easy to get carried away with your wallet.

Keep in mind that no purchase is worth the anxiety that a larger-than-expected credit card bill can bring. Remember that the best holiday memories wonít involve "stuff." Instead, theyíll feature the people you love. So donít be afraid to create a budget and stick to it.

4. Decking the halls. Decorations are a time-honored staple of this season. And with each year, glossy magazine spreads, television specials, and (most recently) websites like Pinterest up the ante. There are elaborate lights, handmade wreaths, exquisite crafts, and more.

I think that many of us have mistakenly gotten the impression that our homes need to look like Martha Stewart paid a visit. Remember, itís okay if your tree looks a little scraggly. You havenít dropped the ball if you didnít make each decoration by hand. As you deck your halls, ask yourself, Am I doing this because Iíll really enjoy these decorations, or am I doing it so that other people will be impressed? Remember, the most important thing is that you enjoy being in your home.

5. Buffets, potlucks, and finger foods. (Oh my!) The holidays are known for good food, good drink, and lots of it. Itís tempting to partake until youíre stuffed, and then continue partaking regardless.

You may not want to hear it, but the truth is that youíll feel better physically and emotionally if you limit your intake to a reasonable level. Be sure to drink lots of water, eat healthy foods, and avoid gorging on treats at every opportunity. I also recommend getting in some light exercise, even if you can work in only a short walk a few days a week.

6. Daydreams of perfection. Does this sound familiar? Every year, you say to yourself, This year everything will be different. The holidays will be perfect. No arguments, no disagreements, no awkward silences. But then Uncle Tim makes inappropriate remarks at the dinner table, your teenage niece storms away from the table in a huff, and you can practically see your spouseís blood pressure rise as your mother makes critical comments. Ultimately, youíre unreasonably disappointed.

Donít put up with blatantly bad behavior, but do manage your expectations. Youíll be much happier if you donít ask your imperfectóbut still valuedóloved ones to reenact a Hallmark commercial.

7. Virtual reality. During the holidays, the impulse to share every little moment with your social networks might be even greater than normal. But before you update your status or post a photo for the 749th time, take a moment to consider whether the internet really needs to know what youíre sharing.

You donít want to run the risk of missing out on real life because youíre so focused on your virtual one. Experiencing some things with your family and friends without screens and keyboards is important.

Over the next few weeks, I hope youíll take a step back and intentionally design a celebration that is meaningful to you. Remember, there is no "right" way to celebrate the season. Donít feel bound by what your friends, the media, or our consumer culture tells you what you should be doing. At their heart, the holidays are about love, fellowship, faith, and values. If youíre focusing on those things, youíll stand the best chance of having a holiday thatís truly filled with joy.

Marla Tomazin, Certified Image Consultant, established her image consulting business in 1990 with the goal of helping clients identify an authentic image and develop its effective expression. From a successful career in the fashion industry, Marla gained expertise in retail buying, merchandising, sales, and marketing. Marla utilizes her abilities in evaluating body shape, movement, and coloring as well as synthesizing optimal cuts, lines, colors, and textures. This results in balance and proportion that accentuate attributes and conceal flaws. Her clients include women, men, and corporations seeking external revitalization that mirrors their internal development. For more information, please visit www.marlatomazin.com.

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