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A Second Opinion - Holiday Ups and Downs

Sandra Edmonds Crewe | 12/8/2011, 2:11 p.m.

There are numerous sources of guidance to assist individuals in navigating the holidays and minimizing stress or distress. After reading a number of lists of holiday stress tips, what is clear is that the best strategies involve prevention and proactive steps. For many, the best cure for the stress is to plan for it and make adjustments. Tips such as avoiding perfection, staying within budgets, making schedules, talking about the causes of the feelings of isolation and loss, eating smart, and dieting are common to most lists of stress-free holidays. The problem with most of the stress tips and columns is that they cover a wide range of circumstances. Thus the reader must take care to seek advice that matches their unique circumstances. If the cause of the stress is a family loss, then the advice must focus more of understanding and responding to grief. On the other hand, if the stress is more related to lack of funds, the tips must address the realities of a limited budget and addressing unrealistic expectations head on. If the advice fails to accurately address the source of the stress, it can add to rather than alleviate stress. In conclusion, readers should seek ways to reduce their stress during the holidays and make room for the joy of the season.