Now that November is here, it wonít be long until the holiday season starts.  Thanksgiving is just the kick-off for a busy season that includes Hanukkah, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa (click on to find out about this African-American holiday), and finally, New Yearís Eve and New Yearís Day.  And Muslims around the world will be observing the Fast of Ramadan, a time of worship and contemplation for them and a time to strengthen connections among family and with the community.  (For more information about this very holy time and about the faith of Islam visit

 Although the coming days and weeks can be filled with lots of fun and times together with friends and family, it can be a time when we sometimes find ourselves over committed, over tired, and over budget.  All this can add up to feelings of stress, tension, and anxiety.

 Experts suggest that the days and weeks leading up to the holiday season are a good time to begin planning stress management strategies for handling seasonal stress.  In planning for stress, there are several things to consider.  Start by identifying what you are feeling most anxious about Ė is it going over budget, spending time with in-laws, managing blended families, or feeling the need to find the perfect gift for everyone?  Reflect on your attitude Ė do you see things as small, medium, or big problems?  Do you assign minor problems more weight than is warranted?  Finally, when problem solving, look for options and possibilities, not restrictions and limitations.

 Listed below are a number of different ways you can reduce your stress level during the coming holiday season. 

  • Get some exercise 3 Ė 4 times a week, if possible.
  • Eat healthfully.  Cut back on fat, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.  Eat lots of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Cutback/simplify holiday gift-giving, decorations, baking, entertaining, etc.  Assign priorities to events and traditions.  Let go of those things that arenít that important to you anymore.
  • Donít worry about things you canít control.  Focus your attention on what you can influence and control.
  • Get your sleep.  It is much harder to cope with stressful days when we are sleep-deprived.
  • Be realistic when it comes to family gatherings.  Letís face it Ė does anyone have those Hallmark Greeting Card family experiences we see reflected in their TV commercials??  Set realistic expectations when anticipating spending time with family.
  • Donít over spend on gift giving.  Make a realistic budget and stick to it.  If you have a large, extended family, draw names for gift giving rather than buying individual gifts for everyone.
  • Donít over commit yourself.  Agree to those activities and events that are important to you and that are meaningful.  If you need to think about it, say that youíll get back to someone instead of accepting an invitation on the spot.
  • Use humour to lighten up. 

 Now, whatís your favourite way to beat holiday stress?  Let us know by sending us an e-mail (click on the Womenís Issues e-mail address below).  Weíll share your suggestions with Global Village readers in our December Womenís Issues column (be sure to let us know if itís OK to use your Forum name and the country and/or region where you are from).

 While youíre at it, tell us what your favourite holiday tradition is and how people from your part of the world celebrate the holidays.  What makes a holiday special for you?  What is the thing you look forward to most of all?  What special foods do you love to prepare and/or eat?  What customs are cherished and add meaning to your holiday?  Weíll share your thoughts and ideas with Global Village readers next month.  We hope that our December column will have international representation from the many Forum members around the world!

 For more information about managing seasonal stress click on the websites below.

 For some common sense stress reduction strategies check out offers tips for reducing stress for parents and kids and can be found at

 Another site with some excellent suggestions regarding children, holidays, and stress management is

 A wealth of information can be found at

Information on several topics is offered, including preparing kids for holiday visits, managing seasonal stepfamily stress, shopping and gift giving, handling holiday eating, and holiday safety. discusses why the holiday season can be stressful and create feelings of loneliness.  This site offers a self-inventory checklist to assess if loneliness is a problem, and contains suggestions for building and maintaining effective support networks and developing an action plan for reducing holiday loneliness and stress.  This site also has many links to informative articles on depression and anxiety disorders. 

For several practical suggestions regarding organizing your time and additional tasks and activities check out

Finally, contains numerous articles in the categories of fitness, nutrition, mind and body, and family and home.


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