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Health & Balance

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Keep Holiday Stress to a Minimum: Learn to Say No

Before your holiday stress levels start to rise, learn these 4 simple tactics for saying no to unnecessary obligations.

How to Say No to Holiday Stress

1. Say No to Parties That You Don't Want to Attend

First, "Lavishly thank the person for inviting you," Breitman says.

Then apply the "less is more" rule, she says. Skip the long-winded explanation in favor of something short, sweet, and general: "I'm sorry, but I already have plans for that day."

"Your plan may be to take a bubble bath because you're stressed out. Or you're renting a movie and having hot cocoa with your family," Breitman says. "No one has to know what your commitment is."

If the other person insists on knowing why you can't come, the burden of prying will be on him, Breitman writes in her book. Don't fall into the trap of coming up with new and creative excuses, she says. Instead, paraphrase yourself: "I won't be able to come" or "I already have something on my calendar."

Don't lie and make up an excuse, Skelton says. "You don't want to hurt someone's feelings, so you come up with anything, but later, it might come back to bite you." In other words, you'll feel embarrassed if you're caught, and you'll damage the relationship, too.

If you receive an invitation from someone you genuinely want to see -- just not during the hectic holiday season -- suggest an alternative, Breitman says. For example, you can say, "I can't make it to your party, but let's have lunch after the holidays."

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