Surviving Holiday Stress

How to make the most of your holidays by avoiding the stress.

I’m not sure how it is for you, but for me, when it turns autumn, as the leaves start to change colors, and the days start to get short, I start worrying about the holidays.

I didn’t grew up in this country, and so the winter holidays were a new novelty to observe and absorb.

I came to the United States as a young adult, and as I became a ‘grownup’, and had my own family, I looked around at what the holidays traditions looked like.

I always adored the fall colors, admired the stores with all the decorations, and the twinkling lights, was fascinated by the lore of Santa and his elfs.. but mostly, I loved how families and friends, got together and celebrated their holidays traditions.

I then started creating my own family holidays traditions, and with the growing lists of  guests, presents, meals and foods to prepare, with the sweet myths, memories, and shared experiences, also came the un-invited guest… S T R E S S!!!

Every year, at this time of year, I write my annual ‘holiday stress’ blog. And no matter how good I can write about it, research it, help my own  therapy clients to not stress, when it comes to the holidays, I stress..

I am sure that for those of you, who are as myself, also somewhat neurotic, controlling and perfectionists, it is all too familiar …

Watch the Women’s Show with Susan Schreiber on KVMR . A talk about the topic of  stress during the holiday and how to avoid it.  


From my blog titled What Not To Do This Holiday,  and how to avoid unnecessary stress in the holidays, I wrote:

‘We feel that we need to get things done, presents lists checked off, chores completed. We are invited to many Holidays get- together, office parties, family events, friends celebrations, and though it is delight-full to enjoy all these events, it is often mixed with stress of time, financial strains, or even loneliness.’

‘For many of us, holidays are a time of painful memories, ‘first holiday with out mom’, first Xmas tree decorated alone, first holiday with only one parent…  At times we can be lonely even when we are not alone, feeling that all around us are cheerful and content, ‘Why can’t I feel joy’?

‘Holidays celebrations bring people together; families, tribes, communities and friends. We travel long distances to connect with loved ones during the Holidays. We naturally turn to each other, to our people, to get comfort, joy, and connection, because we know that being in touch with those we love is reassuring and joyful.’

‘Families can be a source of strength, connection, love, and caring. It can also be a reminder of violence, neglect, abuse, and disconnection. Around the Holidays, many people experience some kind of P.T.S.D (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome), with reminders and flash backs, of times in their past where the Holidays were a time of dread, addictions, and dysfunctions.’

Holidays can bring and create financial stress on many families. In the effort to celebrate, with the spirit of giving, with wishing to put presents under the trees, and the joy of abundance, we may tend to spend more then is fiscally comfortable. In an article in Sacwellness, Financial Stress and the Holidays: Mindful spending strategie,  Mariah Hudler, LCSW writes, “Holidays are meant to create and share joy but can also be a source of financial stress… take a moment to reflect on past years and how you felt after the holiday season. Were you happy you underspent? Were you satisfied with your spending or did you feel remorse for overspending?”.

‘Here are some tips to watch for, prevent, and cope with, holiday stress:

1. Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be PERFECT or ‘just like last year’.. Allow for change and flexibility. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well.

2. Stick to a BUDGET. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Often we feel the need to spend money to show our love. But many times presence comes before presents. And baking cookies or fudge can be economical yummy and fun!!

3. Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus, make your shopping list, know how much time it takes to accomplish what you hope for, and take into account that everything takes longer during the holidays, including traffic!

4. Acknowledge your feelings. If you or someone you close to, has recently experienced a loss, or 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. Be honest. Express your needs. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship.

5. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. So often we overextend ourselves only to feel spent exhausted and depleted. Set clear boundaries even with family and friends.

6. Make sure to take some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Don’t neglect your daily practice of exercising, yoga, or meditation.

7. Take time to do NOTHING AT ALL!!!

In a great article 25 Ways to Fight Holiday Stress, author Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen, writes:  “The shopping and crowds. The back-to-back diet-busting parties. The interminable chats with the in-laws. We understand how easy it is to feel not so wonderful at this most wonderful time of the year.

That’s why we’ve rounded up these 25 expert-endorsed ways to help you dodge the seasonal blues and stay happy, healthy, and energized.

From quick stress-survival strategies to mood-brightening foods, here’s your cheat sheet to holiday cheer.”

The darkest day of the yeaWith all the holiday stress, and chores, and time focusing on the extended family, many couples feel the impact on their relationship. It is important and imperative to maintain and nurture your romantic relationship, and give time to each other, while focusing outward on the holiday.

That is why I suggest that, This Holiday Season, GIVE each other THE GIFT of DEEPENING LOVE, and intimate conversations.  Give each other the gift of CONNECTION  ❤️❤️❤️

At our Hold Me Tight® Couples Workshop, in a safe, intimate, private setting, we hold space for couples to become vulnerable and open to explore, experience, touch and talk through issues that have been untouched. It is time set aside to have these conversations that have been waiting for a long time to happen.

“Hold Me Tight®” is a registered trademark to Dr. Sue Johnson, founder and originator of Emotionally Focused Therapy.(EFT).

The focus of EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy), is to help partners understand more clearly each other’s deepest emotions. Feelings are often hidden, unexpressed or misunderstood. Our relationships can be a cause of stress and pain or a source of comfort and joy. In EFT, we help couples learn how to deal with their feelings together, reach towards each other, and be responsive in more loving and positive ways.

Hold Me Tight WorkshopsHave you been LONGING for closeness, intimacy, open, honest, and deep communication??
WHAT IF you can start 2020 with a NEW way of relating, where you can get closer to each other, and share your vulnerability, and take the risk to share your fears, and ask for your needs, in new unimaginable ways.

Our Hold Me Tight® Couples Workshop will be Saturday and Sunday, January 11-12, 2020, in Nevada City California,
(Hold Me Tight® is a registered trademark to Sue Johnson).

At our Hold Me Tight® Couples relationship enhancement Workshop – YOU – will learn and experience how to:
• Affirm strengths in your relationship by developing understanding and bonding.
• Address negative cycle patterns, and learn why they show up, and how to get out of them.
• Learn how to repair and forgive injuries, and become vulnerable with each other.
• Enhance your emotional, physical, and SEXUAL closeness and INTIMACY.

I am excited to announce that Owen Marcus, MA,  , author, workshop facilitator, co-founder of Evryman, and TEDxTalk presenter on Masculine Emotional Intelligence, will once again be assisting me leading the workshop. Owen’s TEDX talk: What 10,000 Years Of Progress Has Cost | Owen Marcus | TEDxSpokane

Owen brings with him the width of decades of leading and facilitating men’s group all over the country, helping men access their masculine vulnerability.  Owen’s presence, and his work with couples and men, will enhance this upcoming Hold Me Tight workshop. Owen has been intensely involved in his new company, Evryman, reaching men all over the world, helping them to access and connect with their deep emotions and vulnerability.

Hold Me Tight® couples workshop is based on Sue Johnson’s Emotional Focused Therapy (EFT).
Dr. Johnson work is based on attachment and how it shapes our intimate connections.

This is a link to my blog about the workshop with many FAQ.

Here is another blog with lots more information about the workshop.

Here is a link to my blog with testimonials and reviews of past participants.

We keep the groups small and intimate, sign up ASAP, all of our previous workshops have been Sold-Out!

Click here to register.

Please FORWARD the information to anyone you think will benefit from this work, and please call or email me with any questions or for more information,

Holidays  blessings to you and your,