Whether you celebrate Christmas, Yule, Hanukkah, or none of the above, the holiday season affects everyone. It can be a time of joy – maybe a break from work, an opportunity to see loved ones and a time to let go and have fun. But for many people, the stresses and pressures involved with the holiday season can become overwhelming.

Everyone’s circumstances will be different, and we each face our own individual challenges, but the holidays don’t have to be a nightmare. With some careful consideration and a possible change to the way you do things / react to things you can ensure that you not only survive, but you may even end up enjoying yourself!

Top Tips for Survival

• Remember that most people become stressed at this time of year, however much they enjoy the holidays. By taking an active interest in what the people around you are doing, and maybe offering to help where necessary, you will have a focus and it will make you feel needed. Offer your parent / partner some help with cooking the dinner, laying the table, washing up etc – it will keep you distracted and ease someone else’s strain at the same time.

• If you’re the one who needs the help, then ask for it! It’s often the case that all preparations for the holidays are left to one member of a household. This can be distressing and overwhelming; so ask your partner and / or children for some help when you need it.

• If someone is annoying you, take a deep breath and walk away. People say and do a lot of things during the holidays, and under the influence of alcohol, that they wouldn’t normally. It is better to walk away and calm yourself than engage in an argument that could leave everyone miserable for days.

• Take time for yourself whenever possible.

• If you have guests staying, get them involved with some simple chores. Most people like to help out if they’re staying with someone and it will give you a little extra time for yourself.

• Don’t be afraid to say no. If you don’t have the physical or emotional energy to attend the Boxing Day party your Uncle always hosts, then make an excuse and don’t go this year. Sometimes we have to put ourselves first.

• By all means enjoy a drink, but don’t use alcohol to get you through. It may seem to help at first, but drinking too much will make things worse and drag you down further. Balance the alcohol you consume with lots of water or other non-alcoholic drinks.

• Eat a reasonably healthy diet. Do enjoy yourself, but by making a few healthy choices you can boost your energy levels without making yourself feel ill.

• Get out of the house and go a walk. Exercise can boost your mood and some time in the fresh air will clear your head.

• Keep a positive attitude. If you have already decided you hate Christmas and are going to be thoroughly miserable, the chances are you probably will be. Our thoughts are very powerful, and can severely influence the way we feel – keep your thoughts positive and it will help you feel more positive.

• Tell yourself that however bad it gets, it only lasts a couple of days, so focus on the good stuff and appreciate the small things. Before we know it we’ll be half-way through January, working hard and wishing we could spend a day or two eating chocolate on the couch while watching Indiana Jones for the tenth time!

• Consider not giving up anything for New Year; instead, consider pledging to make things a little nicer and easier for yourself, and your loved ones, every day. We’ll be blogging some ideas for small changes you could consider making in 2009, over the next couple of weeks.

Wedge and I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday.

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