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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Family Stress & Holiday Cheer: A Survival Guide

We often think the Holiday Season is everyone’s  favorite time of year. The weather is cooling. The leaves are falling; the food is getting richer and more decadent. It’s the time of smiling faces, warm cozy fires, hearts full of joy, and families filled with love and togetherness right?
As pretty a picture as the media would try to sell us, we all know the truth. The Holidays are full of family stress, anger, conflict, and pressure. In fact, some of the following stress filled messages may be running through your mind right now. What will we make for dinner? Who is coming over? What is the budget looking like for presents this year? How do I stop myself from getting angry at the in-laws? Where will my family stay? Is there enough space in our house? Will the kids actually let me sleep today? Do I really want to have to talk to my brother, mother in law, cousin, other family members I don't like ?

With all these stresses and pressures a short temper, anger, and cranky snappy responses are bound to arise. All it takes is the smallest thing to set us off during family gatherings, which often leads to poor coping resulting in overeating and excess alcohol consumption. At times, this may seem like the only way to get through the Holiday Season. Admittedly, safely coping with the Christmas Season in a positive and healthy way is not always easy, but it can be done. Often, it is the little things that help the most. The following is a list of helpful tricks to help you cope:

1. Remember to breathe- the Holidays don’t last forever.

2. This too shall pass! Try to keep in mind that even with all the build up, expectations and disappointment that often come with the season, ultimately they are just days, and you can get through them just like you do every other day that has come, or is yet to come.

3. Be aware of your mood and tone of voice, your body language.

4.  It's not all about you! Other people are stressed too. Don't take other peoples moods and behaviors personally.

 5. Please remember that alcohol only adds to the problem, and can be down right dangerous. Keeping the Holiday cheer in check will help keep the anger and stress in check too.

It helps when you realize that everyone else is just as stressed as you are. You are not alone; just smile, relax and try to enjoy what you can. Remember, you are the only one who can keep yourself safe, sober, and under control. For information and assistance coping with holiday stress, please visit our website at www.nvamc.com  or call us toll free at 1-888-992-6479 today.

Happy Holidays from North Valley Anger Management Consultants