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Christmas will be here in 10 days. Most of us still have decorating, shopping, wrapping or travel to do before we get through this holiday season, and all of that can bring on lots of stress! Just how do you navigate the stress of the holidays? Here are some helpful suggestions:

  1. Have realistic goals for yourself and your family. If you expect everything will turn out perfectly, you will most likely be disappointed. Sometimes food burns, often people say the wrong thing at the wrong time, and kids may be disappointed in a gift. Remember that your holiday will have some mishaps, and often it’s the mishaps that lead to funny, memorable things that your family will talk about for years to come.
  2. Don’t overspend at the last minute. It’s easy to spend too much money in the days leading up to Christmas. These last minute expenses can add up, causing stressful Januarys! Be aware of your Christmas budget and try to stick to it. One more run to the store probably isn’t necessary, and those items won’t be missed.
  3. Eat and drink in moderation. People have a tendency to eat and drink too much during the holidays. Office parties, Cookie Swaps, Progressive Dinners and Holiday meals can all be a lot of fun. They can also lead to extra holiday pounds and headaches. Experts suggest eating something before you head to the party so that you don’t overeat when you get there. Drink water in between holiday drinks so that you don’t accidentally overindulge.
  4. Skip talking politics. This year especially, talking politics will be extra tricky. Uncle Joe may have a strong opinion about our President-Elect, and Grandma may see things differently. Try to avoid even discussing this fall’s contentious presidential election and you may avoid a contentious conversation over your holiday meal.
  5. Remember that most people are doing the best they can with what they have. In her book Rising Strong, author Brene Brown says that most people are in fact doing the best they can. While you most likely have issues with certain family members or friends, it is helpful to remember this. Even the prickly people in our lives are most often doing the best they can, given what they know and their capacity to even be aware of their behavior. Our ability to recognize this can greatly impact our ability to treat others with grace and dignity.

All of us at Carolina Counseling Partners wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We look forward to seeing you in 2017.

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