Beating the Blues: How to Make the Holidays Less Stressful
By North Carolina Cooperative Extension
The holidays are supposed to be a time of peace, love and joy for
everyone. But if thats true, then why do so many of us wind
up in early January feeling a lot like the Grinch before his change
The truth is that, too often, we put so much pressure on ourselves
to create the "perfect?" family occasion complete
with lovely decorations, ideal gifts and sparkling parties
that we wind up with a case of severe seasonal "blues"
"The end of the year brings all kinds of increased demands
for shopping, parties and family reunions that can be rife with
stress," says Wayne Matthews, PhD., an associate professor
in Family and Consumer Sciences at North Carolina State University
and a human development specialist for North Carolina Cooperative
Extension. "Sometimes emotional disappointments combine with
a physical reaction caused by excess fatigue and stress to lead
to a post-holiday letdown."
The holiday blues can strike anyone, says Matthews. But he adds
that there are many ways we can help ourselves avoid stress overload.
Following are several tips for heading off the holiday "blues"
before they hit:
Keep your plans realistic. Consider just how much time you really
have and then give yourself permission to say NO! when your own
demands and those of others get out of control.
Ask for help. Sharing tasks allows everyone to feel like a part
of the celebration and fun.
Resist comparisons. Your friends and relatives may be able to do
or give more, but more isnt always better!
Avoid overspending. With all the hype and hurry, its easy
to get overextended. But when you spend more than you can afford,
you prolong the stress of the holidays into the new year.
Make health and exercise a priority. Youll be better able
to cope with a more active schedule if you keep yourself healthy.
And exercise not only allows you to sleep better, it also makes
you more alert and efficient during the day.
And finally, Matthews adds, "Dont forget to make time
for yourself. This really is a season that reminds us to focus on
peace, love, and joy, so make time to really celebrate."
Brought to you by North Carolina Cooperative Extension, The Department
of Family & Consumer Sciences, College of Agriculture and Life
Sciences, North Carolina State University. Copyright 2004, NC State
University. For more information, visit: www.family-info.info