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Posted on 12-14-2012

peace.jpgWhen it gets to be this time of year, we hear of the many people who are stricken by depression and anxiety because of the stress of the holidays or the fact that they’ll be alone. During this time of merriment for most, it’s wrought with sadness for others. But if you plan ahead and have your safety net in place, you can cruise through the end of the year with your head held high and a smile on your face.

One of the main reasons that the holiday season blindsides people is because they are unprepared. This is when a schedule makes all the difference. Plan ahead to keep yourself busy on days that will be hard to handle alone. Call friends, look on a socials site (Meetup is a good one), or even plan fun things by yourself, such as a movie date. Avoid triggers that will stir up bad memories or cause the beginnings of a downward spiral.

If your stress isn’t being alone as much as it’s dealing with a houseful of relatives, develop tactics to deal with them. Perhaps you’ll put a limit on the time you’ll spend with family, move to alternate years with the ‘rents, or relocate the celebration to safer ground by hosting it yourself. If all else fails, taking a time out and some calming breaths can work wonders.

Money—or lack thereof—is another huge stressor this time of year. Kids want expensive toys, all of your family expects something…and the next thing you know, you’re up to your eyeballs in debt. Instead of going off the deep end with your credit card, make sensible choices. In a large family, each person may pick a name for whom to buy, just buy for the kids, or set a maximum spending limit on purchases. And if you must buy for everyone, look for lower cost options at off-price stores and outlets or even thrift stores.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help during this time of year, whether from friends and family or a professional. Before you know it, it’ll be a brand-new year with brand-new opportunities.

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