Stress has a way of jumping out at us at the least expected times - like at holiday time. The stress that arrives unannounced, however, can stress you out to the max and carry right on over to the new year. Don't let it. Learn how to step aside from stress by using this handy checklist.

Everywhere you look at television or read the paper or go to the mall is about how to create the perfect holiday -- from having just the right holiday dinner to the best way to socialize at business parties, the right way to get your presents wrapped, all sorts of things assail you that can trip you up and fill you with insurmountable pressures that can all contribute to destroying that "perfect" image that everyone wants you to believe that you can have. It just ain't that easy, is it? The effects of stress are like tiny little monsters that seem to jump out at you at every chance.

You try though. You jump full tilt into the season and do your best to fulfill all the expectations that are set before you with a zealousness that you didn't know you had. wake up with a jolt in January when you receive all the bills from your credits cards. You feel as though you've just been jolted into the realization that you way overdid. Stressed? You bet you are.

It is possible to sidestep the effects of stress and make sure that your 2010 new year starts out on the right foot. Here are six strategies you can use to enjoy your holidays to the hilt while letting you welcome in 2010 in great shape… financially, physically and emotionally -- and gain the added advantage of reducing the effects of stress.

1. Set limitations.

* Preparation ahead of time is key to preventing yourself from falling victim of overindulgence, either at the buffet tables, or your grandmother's favorite apple cobbler. Prepare for how much you will spend or eat, share that decision, then vow to not stray from that decision.

* Take time to relax and unwind from all the frenzy. If you don't take that time, you'll be worn out to a frazzle and could end up taking it out on those you love.

* Acquaint yourself with the early warning symptoms of ‘holiday stress’ and then utilize tactics prevent the emotional spending and eating these symptoms can trigger

* Avoid, avoid, avoid the "buy now, worry later" approach. You won't like your credit card bills in January if you don't.

2. Be generous.

* Remember the true meaning of the holidays - it's better to give than to receive.

* Generosity extends far beyond giving gifts - give the gift of your time, encouragement, sharing memories, whatever someone needs to make their holidays more festive.

* Giving is keeping and succeeding. What you neglect to give will haunt you forever.

3. Be cautious about the conversations you take part in.

* You are going to pick up the negative vibes, resentments, hatreds, and biases that are shared with you. Avoid hanging around the people that share negativity and seek the company of those that share joy, positive thinking, and pleasantness.

* If people aren’t being nice, resist the temptation to take it personally. The finger will always point back at them.

4. Don't let others' "grinchy" attitudes and actions be an excuse for yours.

* Control your behavior and don't worry about directing the behavior of others - you won't succeed.

* Act as a model for the behaviors you would like others to emulate.

* Give up using excuses all together for how you behave. If you have a bad moment, own up to it and go on.

5. Stop telling yourself you "should have" done this, or you "should have" done that.

* Holding onto the extra baggage of how things "should be" will be too much of a burden to bear.

6. Get your broom out and sweep away the old, unreliable traditions.

* Just because it's a tradition doesn't mean it has to be.

* Choose the easy way to do things -- it will ease the stress and give you more time to enjoy life, health, and happiness.

• Don't take it on your shoulders to be the sole provider. Delegate responsibilities to others. Take off the yoke - you'll ease the effects of stress.

Author's Bio: 

Margie Warrell is an expert on living with greater clarity, confidence and courage. Get Inspiration from her movie. Oh, wait! I almost forgot to tell you. Don't forget to swing on over and Get YOUR Treasure Chest of Free Resources to help you enjoy a more successful and rewarding life AND pick up her monthly LIVE BOLDLY! eNewsletter.