The holiday season often invites unwanted guests into our lives, stress and depression.  It is not surprising.  The holidays bring with them a multitude of things to do… shop, parties, baking, cleaning, entertaining…just to name a few!

Stress levels go up during the holiday season.  This holiday may be especially challenging for you.  What are you facing that is causing you stress?  Is it the economy?  Less money to spend this year?  Did you go through a divorce?  Did you suffer a job loss?  Maybe it’s not financial.  The family parties, the ones we all like to in theory look forward to because it will be great to see Mom and Dad, our Aunts & Uncles, cousins…even sisters and brothers.  Then, we walk through the front door and remember.  Dad and Uncle John are arguing over politics, Mom and Cousin Sue are discussing religion and how you “should’ve gone more to church”.  Your sister’s kids are at your feet screaming “where are the gifts”, and you haven’t even taken your coat off yet!

As tiring as all that may be to think about, there are some practical tips to help you stay focused and calm throughout the holiday season.

  1. PLAN AHEAD.  Try and schedule your shopping, baking, and entertaining in advance.
  2. STAY FOCUSED.  This is the time to really focus on what you CAN do!  Your attention should be on the things that are truly important and that you can control.
  3. BE REALISTIC.  There is no need to impress anyone!  Stop believing everything has to be perfect, or just like last year.  If life’s circumstances have created a new way of life for you this year, embrace the change!
  4. TAKE A DEEP BREATH.  Challenge yourself to find that inner strength.  Give yourself a pep talk every morning and make an image of yourself and take a deep breath and bring that picture inside!
  5. REMEMBER WHAT IS WORKING IN YOUR LIFE.  This will lighten you up and allow you to step back and look at the issues from a different perspective.  You may be surprised at how different you see things!
  6. LEARN TO SAY NO!  Taking on more than you can handle will only leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed.

Don’t let the holiday season become something you dread.  Instead, take steps to help prevent the stress and depression that can descend during the holidays.  Learn to recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial demands or personal issues, so you can combat them before they overwhelm you. With a little planning, and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy this holiday season.


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