The holidays…reunions, spending time with those relatives you haven’t seen all year, copious amounts of food and department store lines as far as the eye can see. Although this time of year is by far one of our favorites, it can also be a source of stress and anxiety. Like when your mother awakens you from your much needed restful slumber at 7am to “come look at the tree!” or your find yourself glued to the stove for hours cooking meals for countless family members (how the heck are we related to these people, anyway?). Our blood pressure rises and suddenly we have an urge to run as far as we can. These are the moments in which we need a vacation from our vacation. A little time to take a breather, gather ourselves together, and get back into the holiday spirit. Give one of our helpful mini-vacations a try and make your holidays a little merrier.1 – Reconnect with old friends. The year gets busy and we forget people as we get caught up in our own lives. That’s okay! Relive those old memories and laugh a little.2 – Say NO! Over extending ourselves can make the holiday go downhill fast. Only agree to doing those things which you know you can do and have time to do. It is okay to say no!3 – Cook something you want as opposed to something you have to have. Craving Mexican food? Go for it!4 – Exercise. With our meals being large enough to feed an army, take some time out of your day to exercise. Take the dog for a walk, gaze at Christmas decorations along the street, and get your blood pumping.5 – Buy yourself a present. You have crossed off everybody on your list but you never added yourself to the list! You don’t have to break the bank to get yourself a little something. You deserve it!6 – Get outside. Fresh air and sunshine does a lot for our body.7 – Play like a kid. Board games, tag, coloring books, etc.. Enjoy yourself! Sometimes we get so caught up in our day to day activities we forget to enjoy the little things in life. Sitting at the kids’ table is optional!8 – Meditate. We’re not suggesting you sit in lotus position but we are suggesting for you to sit and do nothing. Listen to your breathing. Feel the air fill your lungs. Allow your muscles to relax and rejuvenate.9 – Make your own spa. Relaxation is not just about taking the time but also about finding the space. Get creative. Turn your bathroom/room into a spa. Local grocery stores are a great place to find aromatherapy candles, body scrub, and even soothing music to create the perfect environment.10 – Read! During the year we don’t always have the time to do this. Find a good book and curl up on the couch to read it.11 – Take a nap. Sleeping isn’t the answer to everything but naps are certainly refreshing.12 – Watch a movie. Whether you do it in the comfort of your own home or brave the lines at the movie theater, allow yourself to escape into a story other than your own for a few hours.13 – Go for a drive. You don’t have to drive very far to get away but there is something about a ride which can clear out mind.14 – Make a mix tape. While tapes are out of date, you can make a playlist in iTunes or similar software, on your smart phone or other music device. Good music mix can lift up our spirits in a few minutes. Take some time to create a playlist of songs which make you feel good. 15 – Create a bucket list. There are things you want to do and it’s time to write them down!16 – Take the bucket list and do something on it. With some time in your schedule to spare pick something you’ve been wanting to do and check it out.17 – Practice yoga. Either use Exercise TV through your cable provider or find a local yoga studio. Yoga is a great way to keep the mind-body connection in tact.18 – Take your time getting ready. This is a great vacation from your vacation and something we very rarely enjoy doing because we’re so stressed and rushed.19 – Browse online. There are no deadlines to meet or bosses sneaking over your shoulder to see what you’re doing. All the online browsing you wanted to do still has to get done! Check out social media sites like YouTube,, Pinterest,, and Stumble Upon.20 – Take a time out. When we say “time out” we don’t mean punish yourself and sit in a corner. We do mean to take time for yourself. You don’t have to do anything. This is your time to sit with yourself.Amy Eisenman, MS, NCC, LAPC and Sarah Donnini, LMSW