Beat the Holiday Blues

Being on the road and away from family and loved ones during this time can add more stress to our already hectic lives.

And in our hurry to make this year’s holiday season “the best one ever,” we often neglect to take care of ourselves, both physically and emotionally, compounding needless holiday stress even more. Here are some tips to help keep holiday stress at a minimum and allow you to enjoy the season.

Keep your expectations real. According to the website of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Washington County, Ohio, the disappointments that result from unrealistic holiday expectations are probably the greatest contributors to stress. If you are going to be away from your family during the holidays, try to focus on the celebrations you will have when you do see them again.

Keep your priorities in check. Make a list of what you must do or purchase, and another one that contains “nice bonuses.” Tackle your essentials, then work on the bonuses only if you have the time and resources.

Don’t compare yourself to others. If your friend Larry buys his kids the newest gadget toy companies have to offer, don’t make yourself feel cheap or think that your own kids are being slighted. After all, time and love have more to offer than a credit card any time of the year.

Shop in your pajamas. You can if you shop online! Buying presents online is fast and convenient. Many websites offer secure methods of payment, whether you purchase by credit card, debit card or check.

Don’t blow your budget. Remember that budgeting wisely will result in less stress throughout December and in the months ahead. According to psychologist Dorothy Cantor, a former president of the American Psychological Association, “Not only is it stressful to feel that you have to buy everyone an expensive gift, but you’ll be stressed for the rest of the year trying to pay off your bills.” Remind yourself that your love for your family members is not reflected by the amount of money you spend on their presents.

Remember the doctor’s orders. Taking care of yourself during this time should be your top priority. In times of stress, when it seems as though there is no time to sleep, we often forget that this is when we need sleep the most. Don’t exhaust yourself or spread yourself too thin. And remember to drink plenty of water and keep your eating and alcohol drinking in moderation. The holidays are stressful enough without the added physical exhaustion. Your body will thank you by being more energetic and able to fight off those pesky winter colds. And finally