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Dealing with holiday stress

Here are 10 tips to help the holidays be a happier time of year for you.

Here are 10 tips to help the holidays be a happier time of year for you.

Whether your holiday stress is caused by Christmas or New Year’s Eve, there are ways to ease the pressure so you can actually enjoy the holiday. Here are 10 tips for happier holidays. (P.S. They also work all year round).

1. Hide: It works nearly every time. If you need a little break, admit it and seek refuge. Go to a private place and take a few long deep breaths and sing your favorite holiday tune to regroup.

2. Rehearse the worst, then, if it happens, you’ve already made advance preparations. And since the worst seldom happens, you can make a game out of what does.

3. Get organized early. List all your holiday chores: cards if you send them, decorating the house, gifts, special cooking, wrapping, mailing and shopping. Just listing everything you have to do will help you to feel less harried. Set a schedule, and do a little every day. Check items off your list as you complete them. This will show you your progress. Address a card or two per day. Wrap a present while you watch a favorite TV show. Remember, procrastination is the real “Grinch” who stole Christmas.

4. Reinstate the draft; get everyone in the house to help. Share the fun, share the duties. Children, too … just confine them to one room so if they make a mess you only have one room to redecorate come spring.

5. Use modern innovations to make your traditions easier. Say you have five dozen cookies to send in with Johnny or Mary for the school party. Throw away the “from scratch” recipe. Buy a tube of ready mix cookie dough, and cook them two minutes less than the directions say (it makes them chewy). Put some sprinkles on the cookies and swear the children to secrecy. This creates little mess and is fast.

6. Moderation, and “this too will pass.” No matter what we think to the contrary, there will only be 31 days in December this year. If things get rough, start the count down. Look forward to something in January, like December being over. Use moderation in eating, drinking and spending. You don’t want a head, belt or debt hangover.

7. Empathy works when you think the world is out to get you. Look around. There are undoubtedly others who are worse off. If you see someone struggling, offer to help, if appropriate. Focus on what you do have, and count your blessings. Remember, love is free to share. And, it comes in unlimited supply to those who use it.

8. QTIP: The next time you’re in a holiday traffic jam, stuck in a slow checkout line, or your online order doesn’t go through, remember QTIP, and quit taking it personally. The checkout line isn’t there to drive you crazy. The stoplight is not a part of a plan to ruin your day. Don’t get upset about what is beyond your control.

9. Contrarian shoppers start early and end early. Take an early lunch and shop on off-days at the mall. Shop online, the prices are often good, and many online stores now include free shipping. What can’t you find at Amazon? Have a detailed list of gifts with alternates if your first choice isn’t available. Consider shopping year round for the holidays. Often, summer sales mean better gifts at a lower price next year.

10. The Chemistry of Joy will see you through. There is an actual chemistry of joy and happiness that occurs within us. It is a chemical reaction caused by signals our brain gives to our autonomic nervous system. A positive, happy outlook triggers immune strengthening responses in our body. Laugh, enjoy humor, sing and think about the joy you give to others and the joy that others give you.

For more information, visit hyperstress.com

©2012 King Features Synd.

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