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Holiday Stress: Some Ideas for Making it Through with your Sanity in Tact!

By Mary Kay Hafer, School Psychologist

This is an article I wrote/adapted from an unknown source many years ago. It still seems relevant to our North Country in 2012-13!

With the arrival of the holiday season rapidly approaching, many parents and children look forward with excitement to the good times ahead. But many of us adults also experience a lot of stress during this time. In addition to shopping duties, writing holiday cards, decorating, cooking and visiting with friends/relatives, there is the additional stress of making sure the gifts we buy our children are appropriate, fun and most importantly, within our family budget! Before you feel that you are on melt down by trying to accomplish all this and more, consider the following strategies to help cope with the holiday onslaught:

  1. Consider what is really important to your family; pay attention to the faith-based nature of the upcoming holidays, if that is your reason for celebrating them in the first place.

  2. You may want to focus on doing one thing really well, and letting some other things slide. For instance, you might want to make some terrific cookies and deserts, while buying a lot of other holiday meal items pre-prepared at the store or a take-out place (lots of stores and restaurants provide holiday trays and special “package” deals that can cut time and yet provide elegant, tasty treats!)

  3. Do you really need to send out 100 Christmas cards??

  4. Try to find time to be alone, away from the stress of dealing with visiting relatives or houses full of people. Take a calming walk, bath, or visit one of our fine local museums, libraries or art galleries.

  5. Remember that volunteering or offering to help others, is a wonderful and inexpensive gift that most people never forget. Instead of sending expensive gifts, visit an elderly friend in a nursing home or give an old friend a call on the phone. Have a chat with someone who has lost a dear loved one and offer to get them out of the house, if they are willing.

  6. Watch children. It makes you slow down and realize what all the hoopla is about. Enjoy their is contagious!

  7. Try to keep up on any exercise program that you have already put into place. It can help combat those extra holiday calories, and give you a mental boost as well. There’s nothing like a little tobogganing with kids to help you feel toasty warm and happy!

  8. Try to spend some time around adults who really enjoy the holidays and who have a wonderful sense of humor and balance in their lives. It helps to put things into perspective and encourages us to see the lighter side of ourselves.

  9. Don’t forget about your senses…try to spend at least a few minutes out doors each day if you can. Taste a falling snow flake; smell the clean pure winter air; notice the changes in wildlife and the way the sky or stars look on a certain day. Feel the cold, but also feel the warmth of bundling up in cozy mittens, scarves and boots. Listen to snow crunching under your boots and be grateful for the serenity of the North Country.

  10. Remember to reflect on the accomplishments you have achieved at work and with your family during the preceding year. We all need to be reminded of the good works we do; don’t forget to thank and remind others of their accomplishments and kind deeds as well. That truly is the spirit of the season!

12 County Route 47
Parishville, NY 13672
Phone: 315-265-4642
Fax: 315-268-1309

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