Holiday Stress: Tips to Help You Cope

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The holidays are here—and so are the squeeze of time constraints, budget-busting shopping, and being over-obligated. Travel can also add to the stress of the season. But, there are steps you can take to turn down the pressure gauges so you can relax and experience a joyful time with family and friends. Here are some suggestions from WebMD:

  • Know your spending limit and stick to it. American consumers plan to spend an average $935.58 during the holiday shopping season this year, according to a National Retail Federation survey conducted by Prosper Insights. That’s a LOT. Don’t buy gifts that you’ll spend the rest of the year trying to pay off or saddle yourself with credit card interest charges.
  • Give something personal. You can show love and caring with any gift that is meaningful and personal. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. It could be homemade goodies! Or use words instead of an expensive gift to let people know how important they are to you. Make a phone call or write a note and share your feelings.
  • Get organized. Make lists or use an appointment book to keep track of tasks to do, events to attend and mailing deadlines for cards and packages.
  • Share the tasks. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Share your “to do” list with others. Spend time with friends and family while you share tasks like decorating, wrapping gifts, and preparing the holiday meal.
  • Learn to say “no.” It’s okay to say “no” to events that aren’t important to you. This will give you more time to say “yes” to events that you do want to attend. Consider having flowers or a gift basket sent to those whose invitations you must turn down.
  • Be realistic. Try not to put pressure on yourself to create the perfect holiday for your family. Focus instead on the traditions that make holidays special for you. And remember that family problems don’t go away just because of the time of year. If you have a hard time being around your relatives, it’s OK to set limits on your time at events and visits.

It’s also important to make sure you care for yourself during the holidays the same way you do the rest of the year—eat right, get enough sleep and exercise. If the stress gets to be too much, 12-28-09 ornaments083.jpgemployee assistance programs at your place of work may provide access to confidential, no-cost counseling services and resources (check with your human resources department). If you need professional help, remember to check the provider’s license first with the Board of Psychology and Board of Behavioral Sciences. These two sites also offer links to mental health resources, such as the American Psychological Association’s page on stress. If you’re on the road this season, you may want to access the State Board of Pharmacy’s Traveling Medicine Chest fact sheet to help ensure your good times or travel plans are not affected by minor illnesses.

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