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While you watch your diet, here are some other things to consider during the holidays, as well:

» Think fitness: Stress this time of year has a way of creating chaos – and overeating. “Try to use exercise, find something you like, and use that instead of the eating,” said Kerrin Nikiel, membership director for the Southtowns Family YMCA. “When I’m stressed out, I like to take a yoga class or Zumba class. You can forget about what you were doing and clear your mind.”

Fitness Factory personal trainer Bryon Sperduti advises, “If you have time at home, 20 minutes, a half hour, get something in. Whether it be a workout DVD, a run, a little circuit routine – it could be four rounds of 25 pushups, 20 jumping jacks, 20 crunches, five squat thrusts – get it in. Make sure you schedule it in your calendar.

Your workouts don’t need to be indoors, either. BlueCross BlueShield Wellness Director Kelly Hahl and her husband, Jason, burn off calories during the holidays taking treks through the snow or pulling their children, Nathan, 5, and Erin, 2, on sleds near their East Aurora home. Others ski.

» Follow a budget: “For a lot of people during the holidays, stress comes from money,” Hahl said. “You’re at the store, you don’t have a plan and you’re just buying things, so before you know it, your credit card is piling up.” Follow a budget and make a list before you go shopping, “whether it’s for food or for people,” she recommends.

Learning how to say no to some party invitations “and just stay home with your family, doing what you want to do,” also can be a healthy, economic choice, Hahl said.

» Learn to be still: Even if it’s only for a few minutes a day, a little alone time is another stress-buster. “Sit in an incredibly comfortable position,” advised Dr. James Pilc, a meditation guide in the Southtowns. “Use a fan for white noise to cover up external noises. It also has a way of grounding you to this internal calm. [Put on] music, peaceful music. Then close your eyes and use your imagination to walk to your most peaceful place and try to just stay there.” This can lower blood pressure and the rigors of the season – at least for awhile.

– Scott Scanlon