1. Allow your feelings - If you have recently experienced loss or you can't be with loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. It's OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.

2. Reach out - If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.

3. Be realistic with your goals - As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to and be open to creating new ones. If your adult children can't come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, skype, emails or videotapes.

4. Set aside differences - Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. Be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry, chances are they're feeling the effects of holiday stress too.

5. Follow a budget - Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Donate to a charity in someone's name, give homemade gifts, start a gift exchange or give gifts of time rather than presents.

6. Plan ahead - Set aside specific days for the activities and plans you have chosen. Prevent last-minute scrambling get forgotten items, make sure to ask for help if you need it.

7. Learn to say no - Boundaries; Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Others will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity. If it's not possible to say no when yourboss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.

8. Remember healthy habits - Don't let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don't go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks. Continue to get plenty of sleep and physical activity. If you are feeling depressed, DO NOT consume alcohol, it is a depressant.

9. Self-care - Make some time for yourself; time alone, take a walk, listen to soothing music, look at decorations or lights. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.

10. Seek professional help if you need it - Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

11. Try something new - Begin a new Tradition, celebrate in a new way.

12. Live in the Moment - Mindfulness is non-judgmental observation, the ability of the mind to observe without criticism. With this ability, see things without condemnation or judgment. Take a balanced interest in things exactly as they are in their natural states, enjoy being.

Author's Bio: 

I'm Marta Hatter, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice in Irvine. My goal is to share in the counseling success of my clients by providing quality professional services to equip them for challenging life events, and to encourage healing and personal growth. Therapy can result in numerous benefits to you, including improving interpersonal relationships and resolution of the specific concerns that led you to seek help. Families and individuals deserve ethical solutions to serious issues.
Revelation Counseling