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How to Remain Calm Over the Holidays

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Christmas can be a very stressful time of the year. Stress can lead to a weakened immune system, which can lead to you getting sick which is no fun. So, here are a few ways to keep calm and enjoy your Christmastime. 

Are you traveling for Christmas? I traveled over New Year’s a few years ago and the airport was busy, everyone was in a hurry and the planes were fuller than full. Top that off with flight delays and cancellations and it looks like you’re going to be really, really late for Christmas and it looks like you may not be able to make it at all. Dr. Steven Meyers at Columbia University says that with “stress associated with travel, it’s oftentimes in in people’s best interests to add an extra margin of time so they won’t be arriving at their intended destination with no time to spare.” Another doctor, Dr. Frankin Schneier at Roosevelt University suggests that you come up with a game plan just in case travel headaches strike so you can keep your cool.

Sometimes being with family isn’t the most pleasant thing in the world for you. Someone may say something inappropriate or something that may just tick you off. Conflict is not fun for anybody and you may be dreading Christmas dinner with Cousin So And So. You don’t want to wreck it for everyone, so what do you do? Dr. Scheier says the first thing to do is just accept the fact that this person is going to act however they want whether you like it or not and the only thing you have control over is how you react. Think about what you can do to focus on something else. Can you help in the kitchen? Can you help with the babies? Can you take the kids outside to build a snowman to keep them out from underfoot while dinner is being prepared? What happens if they know you don’t like them and they provoke you? Don’t react. Dr. Scheier says to turn your attention to the people you do want to see and talk to. Keep yourself surrounded with others to make a “buffer zone”.

There can be a lot of financial pressure this time of year and it’s a major stressor for a lot of people. Maybe your economic situation has changed and you can’t afford as many gifts as you did last year and you’re afraid of disappointing your kids. Dr. Scheier says that you should ask yourself if the kids are old enough to understand the situation and if the answer is “yes”, then he says to just calmly explain what’s happening. Dr. Meyers says it should be done in an “age-appropriate way” so kids can “understand the reality of being tight on money”. Another option he suggests is that instead of a material thing, you can give them a new freedom or privilege.

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