5 Feel-Good Tips To Tackle The Holiday Stress Monster

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Relationship Expert: How To Overcome Holiday Stress
Family time can be a huge headache, but there's definitely still a lot to be thankful for.

The Holiday season is upon us, and for most of us that's a mixed blessing. It's a time of year that offers joy and happiness, but also one that's fraught with tension and stress. We're reminded to count our blessings and to be grateful, especially during the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday. Especially unusual this year is the coinciding of Chanukah on the very same night as Thanksgiving; there's a good chance the Holiday will be spent with familyAs a relationship expert, I can tell you that there are any number of reactions that are quite normal, ranging from eagerness (based on fond memories) to downright dread (due to loud, inappropriate or annoying relatives). Let me offer some tips that will help you survive and also offer you a way to maintain the spirit of the season — gratitude!

1. Go In Prepared 
If you know that Aunt Mary always asks the same bothersome question about your job or your "whatever," make a game of it and create some humor by anticipating either how many times she’ll ask the question or how long you will be there before she asks it. You can also try something different: be grateful that Aunt Mary cares enough to ask.

2. Maintain Your Willpower  
Have food restriction? It's likely that all sorts of foods will have been prepared, and that the hostess will insist on you eating them. You can graciously put them on your plate and maybe even take a small taste. With all the action going on, it's not likely that what you actually consume will be noticed. However, do be grateful for the variety and quantity of food before you.

3. Hold On To Reality
It's very common that when families get together, everyone reverts to the old roles they had when they were growing up. It's not unlikely that you might feel like a kid again with the same insecurities and issues. Sibling rivalry may rear its ugly head. Just know that this is common and is temporary. You can also be thankful that your family, in spite of its "issues", still gets together.

4. Partner Approval And Preparation
You and your new mate are finally serious enough that you've decided to introduce him or her to your family. Make sure the new person brings a token gift, like flowers or a bottle of wine. Give the person a quick rundown on the different players and personality quirks, so when he or she meets your family, they already have a leg up on the situation and can feel more at ease with the conversation. Of course, the obvious thing to appreciate here is that you've found someone special in your life.

5. Have A Backup Plan 
Before you go to dinner, work out a plan with your partner in case you need a breather. If things are just getting too overwhelming, use your signal, and take a few moments for yourselves. Having a way to de-stress, whether it's a deep breath or a moment to vent, can do wonders to help go back into the situation. Having someone who understands and is there for you is certainly something worth appreciating.

Overall, with any situation in life, there will be both positive and negative aspects that can get muddled or feel confusing. Consider this: only through the lens of having experienced negativity can we truly appreciate and value the positive. How you look at life truly is a choice, and what you focus on grows. Hopefully during this holiday season you will be blessed to choose to focus on seeing the positive and life's possibilities — and may they grow many times over.

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Dr. Karen Sherman

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Dr. Karen Sherman is a Psychologist and radio host of Your Empowered Relationship as well as the co-author of "Marriage Magic! Find It, Keep It, and Make it Last" and award winning "Mindfulness and The Art of Choice: Transform Your Life." Her experet advice is sought after in print, radio, and TV. 
Connect with Dr. Karen through her FREE 21-day program or monthly newsletter
Location: Long Island, NY
Credentials: PhD
Website: http://www.DrKarenSherman.com

 

Location: Plainview, NY
Credentials: MFT, NCC, PhD
Specialties: Couples/Marital Issues
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