Christmas is creeping up and the holiday season is in its homestretch. The struggle is just about to hit epic proportions as the last-minute shoppers try to find the perfect gifts for everyone on their list and crowd the stores and streets in Chicago. No matter where you’re standing, the most wonderful time of the year can seem a little less wonderful right about now, especially when you have a tia with no chill and everyone in your family keeps asking “y tu novio?” 

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When you need a moment of holiday Zen, make these your new survival rules. 

Start a new tradition that’s all about you. I’m not really into self-pampering, especially when my hard-earned finances are turning themselves into presents for family and friends. One thing I am adamant about, though, is giving a gift (or two) to myself. This year it’s a deep berry lipstick and a mani/pedi. There are times when you just need to treat yo’ self. 

Switch your workouts to the morning. The winter gloom means a later sunrise and a bad case of seasonal affective disorder that can rob you of your energy and your motivation. Before you go and order yourself a special lamp for extra vitamin D, start getting up earlier and working out so you don't miss exercising. Research shows that the short-term benefits of exercise include better brain function and memory, which could replace the need for your morning caffeine fix.

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● Learn to say no. Whether it’s the cookie exchange with your book club or your best friend’s neighbor’s little cousin’s holiday recital, it’s okay to say no to a few events and say yes to yourself instead. Giving is wonderful and you’ll give so much this season to others, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Give a little more time back to yourself to focus on what you really need to accomplish. 

Be present. While you’re giving presents, make sure you are there. Even though your to-do list is never-ending and your brother just ate the last buñuelo when you really wanted it, remember to cherish the time you get to spend with family and friends and enjoy this time in the moment. One day the family may not get together each year, and you’ll miss these moments. 

Live in the moment, but look ahead. Not everything around the holidays can be cheerful and bright. This time of year can also be a reminder of who or what is no longer in our lives. Plan a day trip to visit a friend in January or a special event in February so you can begin your countdown now. This, too, shall pass, my friend. 

If you have any more tips, comment below! Now if we can just stop our friends from posting pictures of Elf on the Shelf . . . .

Michelle Rivas is a Founding Creator and wellness blogger. When she's not writing for, you can find her at