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Hey, it’s the July 4th weekend — Happy Birthday, America!  And happy weekend to my readers in other countries.

Holiday weekends can be extra stressful!

You may have been cramming your work schedule so you could take some time off, plus standing in long lines at the grocery store, getting ready for a BBQ for the July 4th weekend. Or maybe you’re going to join the hordes on the freeways and head for a nearby lake, river or beach for swimming, boating and water sports.

Whatever your plans are for the holiday, don’t forget to take some time to take care of your emotional needs. If you make yourself half-crazy trying to be sure all the details are taken care of for the rest of the family, you’ll end up resenting the effort you’ve made if they aren’t suitably appreciative. Learn to cut back on doing too much for everyone.

If you’re the mom who always bakes, and you just don’t have the energy to do it this year, then don’t! Buy a cake at the grocery store and present it with your usual flair. Bite your tongue: no excuses and apologizing are necessary. Avoid launching into a long involved reason why you were too tired to bake and fall all over yourself saying “I’m sorry” — this adds to your stress and adds to an uncomfortable feeling in the whole party.

If you’re the dad who always barbecues with your famous homemade sauce and you were busy all week with extra hours at work, go ahead and buy the bottled sauce. You can always make your specialty some other time.

The point is, so often we get caught up in thinking the tradition of what we make each year has to remain the same. But when your lifestyle has changed due to economic shifts, and you’re working longer hours with less leisure time available to you, don’t stress over what should be a relaxing weekend.

You perfectionists out there, give yourself permission to use mixes, bottled sauces, and store-bought baked goods. Make a new tradition… make it all about spending time together with people you care about and love.

Ease up on your stress load, and you’ll be happier for it.

your happiness guru,

Evelyn Brooks

PS  reduce stress fast before the price goes up– go to

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