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Mental Health Expert Offers Tips for a Happier Holiday Season

ing the past year.

* Make a list and prioritize the activities that are important to you. Make time for those; consider carefully whether you absolutely need to do everything on that list.

* Don’t lose sight of the meaningful moments of the season. Look for them, and be optimistic that you’ll find them.

* Limit your drinking. Drinking too much can lead to uninhibited behavior, hangovers, and remorse, all of which can lead to depression.

* Let others share responsibilities of the season. No one person in a family should feel burdened by all of the shopping, party planning, cooking and holiday activities.

* Make an active effort not to worry too much or get bogged down with details. Live in the moment as much as possible.

* Keep track of your holiday spending. Gifts that you can’t afford won’t make you happy – and the cost of the gift probably won’t be that important to the receiver. Consider the more important aspect of giving -- making the person who you give the gift to feel good, appreciated, and/or loved. Spoken or written words are more powerful than dollar amounts.

* Try to eat well and get enough rest. Hard to do, but the benefits of both are obvious.

* Spend time with supportive and caring people; reach out to others who may benefit from your support.

* Make time for yourself. Everyone needs downtime.

* Remember that there is no ideal or model for a perfect holiday. With intermarriage, second marriages and so many different types of families, feel free to create your own unique way to celebrate.

The holidays are also a time when people feel the loss of a loved one more sharply. Dr. IsHak suggests planning something meaningful during the holidays in that person’s memory, such as donating a gift to the needy or volunteering.

“The season offers many opportunities for joy and celebration,” said IsHak. “The challeng
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