3 Tips to Help You Deal With Holiday Stress

Psychologist offers 3 practical stress-busters
family laughing at holiday dinner

Do you have gifts to buy, parties to plan, and lots of activities to squeeze in between now and New Year’s Day? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and to lose sight of the fun at this time of year.

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Psychologist Michael McKee, PhD, has three simple tips to help change your inner Scrooge to a good mood.

1. Instead of always striving for greatness, lower your standards 

“You don’t have to have an ‘A’ in the meal you serve, or in house decoration, or the gifts you give, or the stories you tell,” Dr. McKee says. “Or in how helpful you are to everybody else. Just drop all that self-grading and self-judgment.”

2. If you’re worried about your spending, make a gift

Some fun ideas include: homemade gifts in a jar, gifts of dried aromatic herbs (great if you have a garden and are a good planner).

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3. If family gatherings stress you out, change your behavior

When it comes to people who you don’t want to be around, adjust how you react. “Kind of make a game out of it,” says Dr. McKee. “Decide to react differently to somebody who bugs you and then kind of stand back and watch what happens. It really is like a play. If you suddenly switch your lines, everybody else in the play says ‘What do I say now?’”

Dr. McKee says these tips will help to keep your stress from getting the best of you.

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