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A balancing act

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- It's hard to believe its mid- October already. Hopefully by now we've been some given relief to our summer of suspense and know what and when our wing inspection will be. We've all been hard at work preparing and I don't expect that will change during November.

We're also entering into the hustle and bustle of the holiday season - both a wonderful and stressful time for many.

As we go through the next couple of months, finding balance between work, family, friends and taking care of ourselves will be more important than ever.

We will all have a multitude of interests competing for our time and money. Inspection preparations, the Mars Science Lab launch campaign and day-to-day operations will keep us all busy at work.

The amount of food and drink we tend to consume this time of year makes it critical we keep up with our workout schedule. (Personally I think it's the natural order of things to fatten up for the winter.) Family and friends want to get together and celebrate from Thanksgiving to New Year's.

Feasts, gifts, travel and offering a helping hand can strain our finances. Now is the time to think about how you are going to balance competing activities over the next couple of months. You have to take care of yourself. Getting in those workouts will help you feel better, sleep better and keep you healthier.

Mentally, you have to find time for yourself - take the time to hit the surf, read, volunteer, whatever it is you like to do.

Along with time for yourself, set aside quality time for family and friends, or better yet, combine the two. This time of year is when many of us renew relationships we might neglect throughout the year.

Set a budget for spending. This helps relieve stress over the holidays and in the new year, when you're trying to pay off the bills.

Finding balance doesn't happen by accident. A little bit of thought and planning now will help all of us enter 2012 happier, healthier and ready to tackle new challenges