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Managing Holiday Stress

Coping with stress and depression during the holidays

  • Keep expectations for the holiday season manageable. Try to set realistic goals for yourself. Pace yourself. Organize your time. Make lists and prioritize the important activities. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. Do not put the entire focus on just one day whether it be Thanksgiving, Hanukah, or Christmas. Remember it is a season of holiday sentiment and activities that can be spread out to lessen stress and increase enjoyment.
  • For parents only: Your past cannot be changed by your children’s presents.
  • Exercise choice. Don’t be afraid to take more of a stand on how you really want to celebrate, or even which holidays you want to celebrate this year.
  • Exercise imagination. Let this year’s holidays offer a chance to be more innovative than previous years. Don’t want to hit the crowded malls again with your mother? Try taking a long walk together in a park instead.
  • Practice altruism. Try extending your generosity and energy to others. There is no better anecdote for the self-absorption associated with the holiday blues than to get outside yourself and consider the needs of others.
  • Focus on relationships. The key to making holidays successful is to understand and, as much as possible, accept the tastes and needs of other people. Your expectations of significant others is just that, your expectation. Own it.
  • Focus on the four “F’s”
    • Fitness
    • Friendship
    • Faith and
    • Fun

Managing Stress

Stress is a state of being characterized by physical and emotional tension brought about by (perceived) unrealistic expectations.

Stress can be a motivating force to help bring about positive change when we have an optimistic attitude and effective skills.

Stress becomes limiting when we have a negative attitude and develop feelings of frustration, helplessness, hopelessness, depression and loss of control in our lives.

Sources of Stress:

  • trying to do too much in too little time, with too little knowledge and with inadequate skills and tools
  • the need to gain approval from others
  • the need to control a situation or person
  • creating unrealistic demands and expectations of oneself or others
  • unrealistic perception of ourselves, others or the situation

Life is 10% what happens and 90% of how you perceive it and what you do with it.


Life is a do-it-yourself project.


Life must be lived forward, but can only be understood looking backward.