The holidays are right around the corner. This is a magical time of year. Snow is falling; Christmas lights are springing up all over the neighborhood, and of course spending all your extra time fighting the crowds in the mall. Holidays can bring joy and cheer but may also add stress and anxiety. The pressure of work, shopping, cooking, parties, and taking care of family members all in the little extra time you have in a day, can lead to depression.

Different triggers cause stress. If you know and understand your stress triggers you can accommodate them upfront. This makes stress less overwhelming. The most common holiday stress triggers are financing, time, family problems, and physical demands.

Relax! There are ways to deal with Christmas stress. First, take a deep breath! Second, before you even step out the door to start your shopping set a budget. Christmas does not mean you have to spend a fortune on every person you know. Stick to your budget!

Plan your gifts and menus ahead of time. This way last minute you’re not struggling and waiting in long grocery and toy store lines. If your having a large dinner, assign other guests to bring dessert and appetizer dishes.

Next, think about all the people and places you need to go. It’s unrealistic to think you are going to make it to eight different houses in one night. Spread it out. Spend time with extended family members before Christmas. Also, understand that families change and so do traditions. Start different traditions that work with all your family members. If you have siblings or children that moved out of state, find new ways to celebrate with them. Send emails or use online cameras.

And nothing ruins the holidays and your sanity like family arguments. Set your differences aside. Believe me, it will take the tension out of family dinners. Just accept people for who they are. Christmas dinner is not the time to change someone but to enjoy his or her company.

Lastly, take a breather. Find an activity that calms your mind. Remember, understand the triggers of stress, take the extra steps to minimize them, and enjoy the holidays this year.

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