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Tips to make this holiday season – and yourself – a little less crazy

By Staff | Oct 30, 2014

It’s almost time for decking the halls and fa la la la la’s. Can you believe it? Are you ready for the mayhem that ensues this time of year?

Between the Ebolas, the ISISes, the political hash slinging and whatever Renee Zellweger has done to herself, this fall season has been rife with stressful life and Internet-spawned events – or non-events, depending on how you look at it.

I, for one, am ready for some merriment. There is something therapeutic about a little package wrapping, some Michael Buble and a whole lot smidgen of alcohol that make the season a little bit brighter and more bearable.

If you are someone who typically dreads this time of year though – and there are many who do and many reasons why – it is not so much about taking a break from the daily grind, escaping from the sadness and scariness that is the current world we live in and kicking back to enjoy time with friends and family.

For many, hanging with the family, or being reminded of the lack of, is reason enough to dread the season. I’m willing to bet a lot of us have had less than ideal holiday gatherings when the idea of – gasp – just going to work for the day or, oh, I?dunno, jamming a needle in your eye, seems more appealing than listening to one more critique about your Pinterest pumpkin fluff concoction.

But hold tight my friends, the holidays don’t need to be cause to break out your collection of “Emo Artists Sing About Pain and the Baby Jesus”. It’s just a couple days. You can get through it and here’s how (thanks to PsychologyToday.com):

– Keep your regular routine: A change in routine can lead to stress. Try to exercise at your usual time, go to meetings and stick to as normal a diet as possible.

– Be realistic: So many have an idealized version of what the holidays should be like and are disappointed when they don’t live up to expectations. Remember, nobody has a perfect holiday or perfect family.

– Stay connected: Leave time to spend with friends and/or family who value you. And if they don’t live close by, call them for a “reality check”.

– Throw guilt out the window: Try not to put unreasonable pressure on yourself to be happy, to rejoice, or even to enjoy the holidays. Likewise, try not to over-analyze your interactions with others. Give yourself a break.

– Don’t be alone, if you don’t want to be: If you anticipate spending the holidays alone, try to volunteer somewhere – a soup kitchen, children’s group homes, or assisted living facilities. People will appreciate you, you’ll feel better about yourself, but most of all, you’ll have company.

– Focus on today, not yesterday: There’s something about being with family and old friends that makes us become who we were and not who we are. When you find yourself reverting to old childhood patterns when with family members, try to walk away for a minute and remember who you are now.

– Just say no: It’s OK to say no when you’re asked to do more than you can. It’s fine to say no to some invitations and fine to say no to those asking for favors.

– Ask for help: Holidays are often a time people attempt to take on too much, do too much on their own. It’s OK to ask for help from family and friends.

– Be good to yourself. You deserve it.

Erin O’Neill is the editor of Graffiti.