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5 Tips to look and feel your best this holiday

(NC) The holidays are meant to be a time of joy and merriment for many of us. Whatever you celebrate, from Hannukah, to Christmas, to the Winter Solstice, here are some tips to help you enjoy them to the fullest. Embrace the spirit of the season Even if you’re more of a natural grinch than one of Santa’s elves, leaning into the festive season can help you appreciate small joys – which in turn could improve your mental health. Getting involved with your family and your neighbourhood can help you feel more connected to others too. By building a gingerbread house with the grandkids, spearheading a secret Santa gift exchange at work or doing a charity clothing drive, you can warm hearts at home and in your community. Choose a go-to outfit Uncomfortable clothing can quickly ruin what should be a good time. Instead of scrambling to find a decent fit right before the occasion, go through your closet a few weeks beforehand and put together at least one look you feel confident in. This could be like something of a uniform for seasonal celebrations to come. Knowing you’ve got this look in your back pocket can eliminate a major source of stress and leave you feeling great even at a last-minute event. Be kind to yourself It’s easy to overextend yourself with parties, festive dinners, gift shopping, children’s recitals and more all demanding attention at this time of year. So, make sure you set aside time to let your mind and body rest and recharge in positive ways. Try reading a book, playing with your dog or talking to a friend. Don’t give yourself too hard a time if things don’t go quite according to plan. Aim for moderation The holiday season can be extra hectic, making it easy to let your otherwise average or healthy eating habits slide and then feel sluggish or moody as a result. But, even if we indulge in more sweet treats than usual, it’s always a good idea to strive for balance. So don’t forget about your fruits and veggies and try to keep a short-list of easy, pantry-based meals on hand for nights when you’re at risk of chowing down on cookies, chocolates and chips for dinner — your body will thank you later. Quit smoking If you smoke cigarettes, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health and well-being. Health Canada says that your blood pressure can start to improve within twenty minutes of your last cigarette, your risk of heart attack begins to drop in 24 hours and you can breathe more easily about two weeks later. While you may face withdrawal symptoms for a few weeks, the benefits and stress-relief of no longer smoking can last much longer. There are many methods when it comes to quitting smoking, from going cold turkey, to using nicotine replacement therapy or trying group counselling. There are also other ways to quit you may not have considered. Overall, setting a date and making a plan can make the whole thing easier to follow through with. Find information, tools and other support at

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