No matter which tradition you observe, the holidays provide a time to reconnect and celebrate. This important fact can get lost, though, in the hustle and bustle of the season.

Taking the time to focus on those things that are truly important can help to alleviate some of this stress. Now is the perfect time to think about what you are grateful for. You may even wish to start a gratitude journal where you make note of those people and events that have made a positive difference in your life.

It is often the little things – a smile from a stranger or a beautiful sunset – that cause us to stop and notice how blessed we truly are. This art of appreciation is one of the keys to feeling fulfilled.

Another important key to fulfillment is to have a meaning beyond yourself. Random acts of kindness not only bless those you touch, but enhance your own life, as well. Whether you choose to volunteer at a food bank or help an elderly person to decorate their tree, the sense of connection felt at these times reaches far beyond the simple act itself.

If you still find yourself feeling tired and tense, below are some additional tips to help you become stress free:

While giving to others, be sure to pamper yourself a bit, too. Take the time to curl up with a good book or soak in a warm tub.

Keep yourself healthy. Between the celebrations eat healthy foods, drink plenty of pure water and exercise. If you start feeling run down, consider adding some supplements to your diet and getting some extra rest.

Use relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga and breathing exercises to refocus and regain your balance physically and mentally.

Don’t get upset over minor issues. If you burn the rolls or run out of wrapping paper, just take a few slow, deep breaths and return your focus to what’s important – connection, sharing and appreciation.

These ideas aren’t specific to the holidays. All of these things can be continued throughout the year to enhance your sense of fulfillment and meaning and to guarantee a very Happy New Year!

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