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I was out for a post-holiday run a few years ago when a running buddy turned to me and asked, “Do you ever get so stressed and overwhelmed during the holidays that you stop enjoying them?”

I think I even stopped running to stare at here. Yes. A resounding yes. And I think it’s a common sentiment. How sad is that?

We both agreed, there, on that frosty January morning, to preserve our peace during the holidays.

Over the past few years I’ve come up with tiny, simple ways to escape the GO-GO-GO, BUY-BUY-BUY vibe from Black Friday to New Year’s. Here’s to a peaceful and happy holiday.

1. Take a Snow Day

If possible, take advantage of school district snow days as an opportunity to hunker down with your people, play games, make snow angels and just unplug from the normal pace of the workweek. Even if school is on a delayed start, that provides a few more precious hours of sleep and maybe even a breakfast that’s not warmed in the microwave (just speaking for myself here). 

2. Winter Hikes

For an instant mood lift, strap on some snowshoes or cross-country skis -- or maybe just your hiking boots if the snow has cleared -- and get outside. Galena Creek Regional Park off Mount Rose Highway is accessible for most ages and abilities. Pack water, a thermos of cocoa and bring your camera.

3. Spend Some Time With Buddy the Elf

It’s really not the holidays until "Elf" is on. When the weather is too plain awful to go outside, try a mini (or maxi) holiday movie-athon. Enjoy hibernation on your own or gather your squad for movies with feel-good endings and reminders of what the holiday season is all about. Or, check out the production of "Elf" at the Pioneer Center running Dec. 16-18.

4. Go for a Soak

Baby, it’s cold outside, but the water is just fine. Hot Springs in Reno, Carson, Genoa and Sierra City offer daily and hourly rates for soaking and relaxing your over-stressed body and mind. Check in advance to see the facility’s dress code, as some may be clothing optional  (just trust me on this one).

5. Volunteer

In a season that can be overrun with consumption, volunteering for those less fortunate can bring tremendous perspective. Check the web for local soup kitchens serving holiday dinners in need of servers. Go through your closet and donate your gently used sweaters. Adopt a family in need through a local organization.

6. Light it Up

Clark Griswold’s got nothing on some Reno residents who coordinate entire blocks of holiday light displays each year. My favorite way to take them in? Running shoes, lighting myself up like a Christmas tree for safety and joining a big group of friends for a holiday home tour. 

What are your favorite ways to escape the holiday madness? Comment and share below.

Happy (and peaceful) holidays!
 

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