Enjoy the holidays, focus on what really matters

We all know the drill. The anticipation, the excitement and the stress of the holidays.

It’s all about one big, happy family, obligations and events to attend, and finding one more present to make everything perfect. Right?!  Wrong.

Elizabeth Nelson, a Psychologist with the Colorado Center for Clinical Excellence, says stress is normal over the holidays. It’s how you handle it that makes all the difference.

“The more you buy into the ‘perfect family, perfect holiday’ the more it clouds out your ability to do the things that would help you cope,” says Nelson.

She says you don’t have to make every dish, go to every event and expect everyone to get along or even include everyone.

Nelson says, “The more you can be real about what really matters, what I as a person can do, how well you’ll really get along with people, it will allow you to let go of trying to make the holidays something that they’re not.”

This turns the focus on where you can make a difference. Nelson says that includes everything from taking care of you, the kids, and/or the family.

She says there are a lot of tips and coping ideas you can use to make your holiday less stressful and more fun.

Nelson says:

*First, plan ahead. She says that allows you to be choosy, so things don’t become overwhelming.

*Second, simplify.  Maybe instead of buying 10 presents, just buy one or two special ones.

*Third, Find time for yourself. “Time” could be as little as 5-10 minutes for yourself somewhere in the day. It could look like quiet time, journaling, prayer and/or meditation, reading, even exercise.

And if you’re having trouble coping with everything, tell someone.

“Don’t keep the struggles to yourself; talk to a spouse, other family, a friend or trusted person, “says Nelson. “Remember, you’re not alone.” That could also mean seeking professional help if you need it.

If you or someone you know needs help call: 1-844-493-TALK (8255)