Relieve holiday stress through simple steps

Set limits for what you and your family can do during the holidays.
Set limits for what you and your family can do during the holidays.

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - The crowds, the traffic, and more can contribute to the constant headaches, fatigue, and other indicators of stress.  So what stresses you out during the holidays?

Decatur resident Faye Nash said everything.

"I guess trying to cook for everybody, you know, so they will have something good to eat. And then getting out the Christmas gifts, putting up the tree - just different little things," said Nash.

Another Decatur resident, Chester Cox, said it's rude people.

"Everybody getting in such a hurry and being in a fussy mood. You know, even in traffic, people are just like, 'Get out of my way!' It's not supposed to be about all that. It's supposed to be about caring and sharing - is what I was always taught," Cox said.

Tricia Collins is a licensed marriage/family therapist with the Enrichment Center, and she said there are some tips for dialing down that holiday stress level.

One tip experts give is to make certain you don't set your expectations quite so high. In other words, lower the bar.

"Nothing has to be perfect. We don't have to get everything done. A lot of people at this time, you go get your gifts done and then all of a sudden, someone pops by with a gift for you and you feel like you've got to run back out and get some more," said Collins.

Also, find support either through family, friends, or by volunteering - and seek out time by yourself to relax.

"Sometimes even just 15 minutes or 20 minutes when you can just step aside, take some breaths, and just sit down and be by yourself and gather your thoughts is sometimes all you really need to lower some of those stressful times," added Collins.

Set limits for what you and your family can do during the holidays. That includes shopping limits.

"That means sitting down with your spouse or whoever you're with and saying this is the budget, we can't go over it this year," Collins explained.

Accept help from family and friends. Be organized on shopping lists, meals, and even time. And Collins said remember those who are not here anymore.

"A lot of people have lost people through this last year. So this will be the first Christmas holiday without loved ones. So taking time and honoring their memory, celebrating their life," she said.

While the hustle and bustle is going on around you, remember what's important: family, faith and/or traditions.

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