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With all the hustle and bustle during the holidays, it is easy to throw our personal well being on the back burner. At the end of every year, too many people say, "I'll start for the new year." The best time to start is now and the best time to stop is never. How can we make this happen though, when our schedules become so overwhelming? Remember that where there is a will, there is a way and if you want something badly enough you will find a way to make it happen.
Make a schedule. So many of us rely on our calendars or schedulers to get by day to day, so it stands to reason that a good place to start is by looking over your schedule and deciding when you can fit in time for just yourself. What is your most efficient way to exercise? Is it going to the gym, for a walk, or running with friends? Whatever your means is to stay active, schedule anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour as many days per week as you can possibly fit. If your schedule remains basically the same you can save it on repeat, but if your schedule changes, you may have to set aside extra time each week to sit down and decide when exercise will work best for you. Block that time out on your calendar and do not allow anything outside of an emergency get in the way. Putting your foot down for yourself might be the hardest obstacle in this case, but stick to your guns and you will thank yourself when you are done every single time.
Create family fitness time. During the holidays maybe family is coming to visit or maybe the demand for your attention from them rises significantly. Fitness can be fun, too! Especially, with family. On particularly, warm December days in San Antonio, take the family to the park to play sports or go hiking. You can also get creative with the chores, making a game out of it so that work around the house can get done, laughter can be heard and heart rates can go up. One thing that may brighten spirits is playing music that everyone can dance to as they clean house, cook or decorate for the holiday.
Prep cook as often as possible so as not to be tempted by all the holiday treats. Prep cooking is easier said than done because it is time consuming. However, by sacrificing a few hours to prepare a few "grab and go" meals, in the long run you save yourself from getting caught in some holiday trouble. You are less likely to pass up the pies and cakes that are brought to the workplace if you are starving. Having meals prepared ahead of time is a fantastic habit to incorporate into your regular life but asking to start doing it during the holidays is a bit of a stretch. Instead, at least for now, start off simple... use a rice cooker or crock pot to prepare a large quantity of rice, veggies and meat. Separate into containers and refrigerate. You'll find very quickly that having something healthy that you can just pop in the microwave really fast can be a life saver. 
Remind yourself why it is important to stay healthy. One of the reasons our personal care gets less attention is that our family tends to take precedence therefore many of us forget about ourselves. Just remind yourself that taking care of yourself is not only for yourself, but also for your family. During times of added stress you want your energy levels to be at their highest, so things can get accomplished at peak performance. If you allow yourself to skip working out and neglect your eating habits, you will find yourself feeling sluggish and tired which only adds to the amount of stress.
These are only a few suggestions; every person and every family has a unique situation. The point is really to get you to understand that it is possible as long as you are willing to try. Whatever works for you, do your best!!
Raiye R. 


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