Have you slipped into the tired--pun intended--thinking that the last few weeks of the year must, inevitably, be the most exhausting and energy-draining of all?

Don't beat yourself up if you have. It's true that what sets December apart are all the holiday commitments, visits, and special activities that add to the usual flurry of tasks and responsibilities. The unfortunate result: feeling off balance, burned out, and too fatigued to enjoy the traditions and benefits of the holiday season.

And who wants to feel that way during "the most wonderful time of the year"? Not me, and surely not you, either. So let's change the way we approach that year-end to-do list. Apply this handful of wellness secrets , and you'll be in top form throughout the holidays. Better yet, there's no expiration date on good habits. These tips add up to feeling great now...and even after the last New Year's party is over.

Secret 1: Unbalanced Holiday Eating Leads to Sluggishness.
If you are feeling bloated, tired, and out of sorts, you might be eating more of your share of
sugar and other undesirable ingredients that contribute to weight gain and digestive distress. Going to a party or other food-centered event? Please don't skip meals in anticipation of eating at your destination. Arriving at a function starved will lead to poor eating decision-making and overindulgence. Instead, before you go out, please remember to "eat before you eat," and have more healthful protein and fiber ever few hours to keep energy high and cravings at bay.

Secret 2: If You're Feeling Down When Everyone Seems Up...
The holiday blues are more common than one might think. Special days often spark reflection on the past--and not always the happy past. And that feeling that the happiness you are waiting for has not arrived can be the catalyst for feeling isolated, missing out, or dissatisfaction with the present.

You can change that sense of defeat. A session of NET (Neuroemotional Technique) can help to balance these feelings and reawaken your self-esteem and inner strength. Also, minimize socializing with unhappy, bah-humbug types, and make a point of contacting upbeat friends and family.

Secret 3: Stop Depleting Too Many Energy Resources At Once.
When many responsibilities and activities place a demand on your physical wellbeing, there's a real risk you'll run out of steam. Dashing to parties, drinking, eating, shopping, baking, juggling tasks at work to meet end-of-year deadlines--and how many other things demand our efforts? Keep that pace and you're sure to wind up feeling empty. That leads to stress, which is harmful to your immune system, not to mention your sense of happiness and fulfillment. Your best bet: prioritize and eliminate unnecessary drains on your reserves starting today. Which leads to...

Secret 4: Learn to Say NO.
A major energy zapper is inability to recognize our limits. Sometimes, we've just plain had enough. Wouldn't it be better to turn down an invitation that is going to exhaust us? to refuse seconds offered by well meaning "food pushers"? to refuse the extra drink? to politely decline invitations and requests when we are already scheduled to the max?

Knowing and respecting our personal boundaries is essential to navigating the holiday season in a healthy, balanced way. And since the same will apply in the year ahead, this season is an exceptional time to practice this skill.

Secret 5: Give in to Holiday Treats...Reasonably.
One highlight of the holiday season is surely the food, mostly in quantity rather than nutritional quality. All of our favorite treats are available and tempting us. Homes and offices alike are overrun with candies, cakes, cookies, chocolates (!)...you name it. Remember, too much sugar will surely zap your energy and lead to more sugar cravings in the future.

What to do? First, breathe. Then take three small but important steps.
- Get everything tempting you out of your direct line of vision. Stop the overwhelm, and you'll stop the feeling that you must act on the craving.
- Choose one, or at maximum two, treats. Eat slowly, savoring and enjoying every single bite. Remember that the holidays are about enjoying yourself, and that can mean having your favorite treats, now and then, in a moderate way.
- Give away, or just throw away, all the excess. Don't feel guilty; you are rejecting no one, and you accepted the pleasure they were intended to bring. And remember, this will not be the last time you will see such things...they'll be around next year.

Turning down the chaos (and the regrets that come with it) doesn't have to mean skipping the things we appreciate about the holiday season. There are many ways for you to maintain your energy and balance. I encourage you to go out and enjoy yourself, feel in control, and know that, by caring for yourself now, you have a head start going into the new year with more energy and wellbeing than before.

Author's Bio: 

Roberta Roberts Mittman, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., M.S., is a nutritional and lifestyle consultant, holistic mindset mentor, and nationally board-certified acupuncturist. Using natural, drug-free techniques, Roberta opens the door to complete mind-body health. Roberta's goal is not only to relieve patients' illness and discomfort, but to help them set realistic goals for physical and mental preventative care and overall wellness. Roberta believes in empowering individuals to be their own best healers.