Deal with the Christmas, New Year holiday stress free

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 30, 2016

It’s almost December, the last month of the year.

Where has the year gone?

It’s time for family get-togethers, decorating, shipping, gift-wrapping, baking and attending special events. You and your family may feel stressed because of the extra demands placed upon already busy schedules. We put too much pressure on ourselves to create the “perfect” family occasion. The three main causes of holiday stress or depression are relationships, finances and physical demands. Sometimes emotional disappointments combined with excess fatigue and stress result in post-holiday letdown. It can take us the rest of the winter to recover.

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The following tips can help you to avoid stress overload and ward off the “blues:”

• Make time for yourself each day to relax and plan ahead.

• Remind yourself to slow down, take three deep breaths and relax.

• Check your attitude – focus on peace, love, joy and fun.

• Be realistic about what you can accomplish.

• Avoid scheduling too many extra activities and obligations.

• Don’t raise your expectations too high for the holidays.

• Get the whole family involved. Share the work and the joy.

• Encourage children to keep up with their chores and responsibilities. Sharing tasks allows everyone to feel like a part of the celebration and fun.

• Sit down as a family and make a list of all the things that need to be done. Let them volunteer to help or delegate tasks.

• Make up a calendar that includes dates and time of all activities to attend, and a schedule of when tasks such as cleaning, baking and shopping need to be done.

• Think about cutting out some activities. Ask your family members if they really enjoy and want to continue to do certain activities. You may be surprised. What you thought was a “must do” may not really be enjoyed by most people in your family.

• Plan easy meals. Double batch casseroles and put one in the freezer for a quick meal.

• Control your holiday eating by not overeating, eating only what you really want; eating light healthy snacks and drinking plenty of water.

• Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes daily, get enough sleep and don’t skip breakfast.

• Keep traditions and family gatherings simple. Allow for flexibility.

• Shop with spending plan and gift ideas for each person. Stick to the spending limits you’ve set to avoid overspending. When you spend more than you can afford, you prolong the stress into the New Year.

• Resist comparisons. Others may be able to do or give more, but more is not always better.

• Remember that people are more important than things, events or tasks.

• Focus on what you have rather than what you don’t have. Count your blessings.

• Focus on sharing and doing for others rather than receiving (What can I do to help others?)

• Discuss holiday schedules and traditions ahead of time.

• When visiting, share your plans with your host/parents, so everyone knows what to expect.

• Realize that there will be disappointments as well as excitement and friction as well as happiness.

• Don’t expect yourself or those around you to be at their best all the time.

• Laugh. It’s a good medicine for your whole body and soul. Look for ways to keep humor in your life.

Source: Elmore County November/December Newsletter