Life coach shares tips for managing holiday stress

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The holidays can be stressful, even if your job is photographing cute dogs. (KABC)

Projects, shopping and parties prove overwhelming to many in the holiday season. Certified life coach Diane Altomare shared how to manage stress and make the season more enjoyable.

One overworked artist, pet photographer Helen Thompson, sees hundreds of four-pawed clients each holiday season.

Her picture-perfect backdrops and cute costumes spread cheer, but long hours, multiple clients and preparing for her own celebration turned the season into one of stress and sickness.

"All you're trying to do is (finish) orders and just, you know, meet deadlines," said Thompson.

To Altomare, rushing from place to place with a long to-do list defeats the joy of holidays.

"It is absolutely OK to not get everything done, to not see everybody," she said.

"It's really about the preparation and being in the spirit of the season, and it is so easy to miss out on those things when we are just running from one thing to the next," Altomare added.

Her advice is to create space for oneself, if only for a few minutes.

"Even setting a timer for four minutes and just closing your eyes. Taking some slow deep breaths. Do nothing," she said

Though one may have the time to add another party or do more shopping, experts say it is not the time spent, but rather the energy which matters.

Thompson has learned to give herself a break after an exhausting day.

"I'm going to block it out and I'm going to take that day to just stop and recharge. Take a breath so I can do my best work in the following days," said Thompson.

"Learn to say no. Say no to perfection. Say no to the things that drain your energy," Altomare said, in one of Thompson's favorite lessons from her.

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