Learning to cope with stress of holidays

December 8, 2010 4:53:05 PM PST
Here's an idea to help reduce the holiday stress that we know is already worrying many of you: try to have a "no regrets" Christmas.

"No regrets" means do your best, and then let the rest of it go. We got expert advice to help us get through the holidays with a little less stress and a lot more "peace."

Christmas isn't going to be the same for Candy Beneke and her family. A water leak has forced them to tear out floors, walls and carpet. No hosting Christmas dinner, no decorating, just repairs.

"We're going to make new memories this year," Beneke said.

That's stressful, but everyone has holiday stress.

People on Facebook told us how easy it is to lose the holiday spirit in the holiday chaos.

"So much of the Christmas stress is truly about all these expectations and demands we put on ourselves," family therapist Cheryl Simmons said.

Simmons says make two lists: "must do's" and "like to do's."

"If it isn't done by a certain point in time, let it go and be able take on a sense of peace," she said.

Do delegate and ask for help. One year, Simmons wanted help with Christmas dishes while her family was watching a football game.

"I got tempted to go in there and get started on those dishes," Simmons said. "I thought, no if I do that I will be very resentful, so I said OK great, sat down picked up a magazine put up my feet and just waited. And the minute the clock ran out and it's half time, 'OK gang let's hit it!'"

This year, Beneke had no choice but to let it go of her expectations for Christmas.

"Remember what Christmas is about and that is about sharing your faith, sharing your love," she said. "You have to focus that it's not really all about all the other things we do for it."

When we posted a question on Facebook asking people how they reduce stress at the holidays, we got some good answers.

Rheanne Lindsey wrote, "All of our family members agreed this year not to spend money on each other for gifts but spend it on the children. It's less stressful."

Deborah Prevatt says, "If the grownups insist on participating in exchanging gifts, you can do a name draw."

Anything to simplify your life can help.

If you need more ideas on how to reduce your holiday stress, watch the full interview with Simmons.


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