COPING WITH HOLIDAY STRESS
The UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research in their November 1999
newletter, The Voice, has provided some suggestions for coping with the
stresses that often accompany the holiday season. I thought I would share
them with the visitors to our website.
-- Joyce Parker, Ph.D., editor
- Acknowledge your feelings: If you've recently had a loss in the family
or are separated from loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness
and grief. It's okay to take time just to express feelings.
- Seek support: Take advantage of social support. If you're feeling
isolated or down, seek out community, religious or social services that can
provide you with support and companionship. Staying involved and helping
others can be a great way to lift your spirits and make new acquaintances.
- Be realistic: As families change and grow, traditions may need to change
as well. Hold on to those family rituals you still can- a special food or
holiday activity- but understand that some traditions, such as everyone
gathering at your house, may no longer be possible. In addition, try not
to set your expectations too high.
- Set differences aside: Try to accept family members as they are. Leave
old grievances or discussions about differences until a more appropriate
- Budget: Before you go shopping, decide how much money you can afford to
spend on gifts and other items, and then stick to your budget. You might
also consider giving gifts that can't be bought- your time, sharing of
memories, or an item you made yourself.
- Don't abandon healthful habits: Don't feel pressured to eat or drink
more than you're accustomed to just because it's the holiday season. Get
plenty of sleep and schedule time for exercise. Not only will exercise
help fend off extra pounds, it will help you feel more refreshed and less
- Build your social network: Work on friendships-for emotional support,
nothing beats a friend. A friend fulfills your need to care and be cared
The author of this article, and founder of the Therapyinla.com website, Joyce Parker, passed away in 2011. To honor her we are keeping her articles posted at this website.
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