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Don't Invite Holiday Stress Into Your Home
Date:12/25/2009

involved with volunteering can help you feel needed and connected.

When it comes to preparing for the holidays, lower your expectations and remember you will not be able to do all you'd like to do if you had unlimited time, energy and perhaps a household staff. Forget about trying to make handmade gifts for the neighbors, sewing a holiday pageant costume for your child, sending out your greeting cards and learning how to cook a crown roast all in the same week.

Prioritize what is most important for you and your loved ones. Talk with your family about what they value in the celebrations. You may find that your expectations are higher than everyone else's.

For many families, money is tighter than it was in previous years. When buying gifts, don't blow your budget then spend the next several months worried about paying your credit card bill and regretting the purchases.

If you are starting to feel stressed, ask for help. If it's too much to host the gathering this year, ask someone else to take a turn -- they may welcome the chance. If you run out of time to bake, buy dessert or ask guests to bring it.

And take some time to reflect on what the holiday means to you, the psychiatrists suggest. That may mean reminiscing about happy times with loved ones, focusing on religious observances or thinking about your best moments and accomplishments of the past year.

More information

The American Heart Association has advice for coping with stress.



-- Jennifer Thomas



SOURCE: New York-Presbyterian Hospital, news release, December 2009


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