Holidays for many people can mean being alone and feeling lonely--or being with family members who cause you stress and also make you feel lonely! It seems you can't escape the holiday blues. But you can! Here are some tips.

1. Identify your triggers. Identify ahead of time exactly what stresses you out about the holidays. Is it just the time of year, in general? Your family obligations? Your interactions with them? Or, like Cookie's Thanksgiving, is it the emotional pain of facing your family's influence over you?

2. Act differently. Most of us seem to step back in time when we're with our families and begin to feel, act--and react as we did as a child. One technique that can help free yourself from your usual family traps is to act differently than you usually do. Surprise always throws others off guard--and often makes them act differently toward you--and see you in a new light.

3. Observe. Instead of rushing to respond to every word or tone, step back and see what you can learn. What do your family's interactions and words tell you about THEM. Step back in your mind and heart and pretend you are studying this family. Once you get some distance, you reduce your tendency to react or take things personally--or incorrectly.

4. Don't have heart-to-hearts. Holidays seem like convenient times to "clear the air" with your family. After all, you are all together. Resist this impulse. More than likely, you will only accomplish stirring the air. Like the little chips in snow globes, your issue will just fall back down to the bottom and not have any long-lasting affects. Instead, start connecting with people in a positive way ahead of time. Once you establish a good relationship, you increase your chances of being heard.

5. Get a sense of humor. Laugh-with-love at yourself and your family. Not every annoying thing needs to be addressed. After all, are you free from quirks and annoyances? Mature, confident people don't need to turn every mole hill into a mountain.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. LeslieBeth (LB) Wish is a nationally recognized therapist and researcher, honored for her work with women and their relationship, family and life issues. The National Association of Social Workers has selected her as one of the top fifty social workers who is making a contribution to the field. She is on the Advisory Board and writes features for, a top ten health website, in affiliation with WebMD. She also writes regularly for other top websites. Her own website/blog,, has been included in the Top 101 Blogs to Watch and The Top Fifty Mommy Blogs. She is an Official Guide to Family on and is finishing up research for her next book on the relationship problems of today's strong women. Join her research! Go to her website and click on the Research Box in the upper right. You will be linked to a confidential online survey.