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For those experiencing apprehension about the holidays, here are nine strategies for making the holiday season less overwhelming.
1. Keep expectations for the holiday season realistic. Remember, no one has a perfect family or fun experiences all the time. Try to set realistic expectations for yourself.
2. Spend time with supportive and caring people. Organize a dinner or get together with close friends or contact someone you haven’t heard from in a while.
3. Remember that it is okay to “take a break” when spending all day or several days in a row with your family.
4. If the holidays are an anniversary or a reminder of those who have passed away, do something to honor their memories. Taking the time to honor your loved ones may make it easier to enjoy the other parts of the season.
5. The holidays are a time to make amends because people tend to be forgiving and generous. If you feel regret about a problem in a relationship or the way you behaved, now is the time to reach out.
6. The financial cost of gift giving can be stressful, especially during these tough economic times. Be honest with yourself about your budget. If you think people expect you to spend more money than you can afford, try buying gifts that are not associated with a particular brand or for which the price is not obvious.
7. Do the things you normally do to feel better. Try to eat nutritious foods, exercise, and get your normal amount of sleep. This way you’ll be less affected by the frenetic pace and intensity of the season.
8. People sometimes turn to alcohol and drugs as a way of feeling better or numbing themselves from negative feelings. Observe your limits and don’t go overboard with alcohol. If you do have an alcohol or drug problem, know that AA and NA groups run multiple times a day throughout Westchester County.
9. Plan at least one activity you really like, either with others or on your own. It will give you something to look forward to and make the season a special time for you!