'Tis the Season...To Be Stressed Out?

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'Tis the Season...To Be Stressed Out?

According to Morton C. Orman, M.D., author of the bestselling The 14-Day Stress Cure, the top causes of holiday stress are:

l Social and personal expectations

l Too many responsibilities

l Trying to change or control people

l Unpleasant memories

l Unpleasant emotions and other body reactions

l Blaming yourself or others when things go wrong

l Failing to anticipate likely problems and delays

l Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope with stress

l Expecting things to go well

l Expecting others to behave as you prefer

l Being single, divorced, widowed or separated

l Financial stress

Below are some suggestions on how to defuse your holiday stress and give you the chance to have your best holiday season ever (no pressure, though.)

l Be realistic: Put the holiday in perspective and avoid trying to please everyone.

l Visualize: Think about how you might handle unpleasant family interactions more positively.

l Exercise: Keep up a regular routine of exercise or start one if you don t already exercise.

l Use moderation: Don't go overboard on holiday spending and entertaining. Overspending during the holidays can lead to added post holiday stress.

l Have a sense of humor: Avoid taking the small things seriously.

l Help others: Take time to do something for someone else.

l Take time for yourself: Find time in your schedule to slow down and enjoy family and friends, and yourself.

l Manage the holiday "hype."

l Cut back on presents. Presents cost money and shopping takes time.

l Do less, not more. It may seem sacrilegious to actually relax and enjoy the holidays, but it can make the whole month a lot more fun. And the best way to relax is to cut back on activities.

l Be flexible. Tradition doesn’t have to mean rigidity.

l Look for creative solutions to problems.

l Ease family tensions by breaking up the old patterns and creating new ones.

l Have your major holiday meal catered.

l Don’t make eating and drinking the focus of get-togethers. Go caroling or hiking instead, or volunteer to serve food at a homeless shelter.

l Put a dollar limit on gift-giving.

l Shop early to avoid the holiday crowds.

l Shop online for out-of-town relatives and friends to avoid the long post-office lines.