The true meaning of the season!

Coping with Holiday Stress

While the holidays can provide wonderful opportunities for family bonding, festive celebration, and expressing gratitude, they can also be a source of stress and depression. The holiday blues often creep up as a result of unrealistic expectations, financial hardship, commercialization, family issues, and overall exhaustion.

What can we do to fend off the holiday blues? Here are 10 proven tips:

  1. Express gratitude. It is nearly impossible for us to experience gratitude and stress simultaneously. When you begin to feel overwhelmed, remember: you have the power to activate joy in any circumstance. Pause, close your eyes, count your blessings, call a loved one and tell them what you appreciate about them.
  2. Volunteer. Few acts combat loneliness and depression more than serving others. Whether it’s a hospital, soup kitchen or local food bank, there’s truly no shortage of community service opportunities. ( is a great resource).
  3. Shift expectations. In other words, the holidays, as you experienced them as a child, no longer exist. Both you and your family members have evolved, and it can be painful to hold onto idealistic nostalgia. Focus on creating new memories, and instead take comfort in the fact that you have the ability to shape your holiday experience into something meaningful for you and your loved ones alike.  Fot the inner child: buy little gifts to open at Christmas or Hanukkah.
  4. Pause. If only for a minute or two, take time out to remind yourself to live in the moment and enjoy the present.
  5. Go easy on yourself. If you’re hosting a holiday event, delegate responsibility. Don’t put too much pressure on finding the perfect gifts, or preparing the perfect meal. Always remember to set aside time to do the things you love to do.
  6. Take responsibility. Family issues often come to a head during the holidays. During difficult or strained gatherings, remember: you alone have the power to control your actions. You do not have control over your relatives’ behavior. If tempers flare, make an effort keep your thoughts and words positive. Positive thinking can calm your stress hormones. Practice feeling love and compassion no matter what, and ultimately walk away at peace with yourself.
  7. Limit alcohol intake. Intoxication tends to amplify feelings of stress, loneliness and depression. Drinking responsibly helps you stay in control of your emotions.
  8. Surround yourself with love. This one is beautifully simple: make sure to spend time with supportive, positive, caring people!
  9. Connect. Get in touch with a friend or relative you don’t see often enough. Make time to catch up and spread some holiday cheer!
  10. Plan simple, fun holiday activities: It’s all-too-easy to get caught up in holiday materialism. Taking part in simple, low-cost activities will help reduce stress and create wonderful memories. Go for a nature walk with family, atend a holiday concert, or bake cookies for people who are ill, without family, or out of work.
  11. BONUS TIP: Shop less! Donate more! Start a tradition of making donations in the names of those you’d otherwise be fighting the crowds to shop for. Our brothers and sisters all over the world are in great need at this time! (ie

If you have tips of your own to promote joy during the holidays, please share in the comments.

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