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New Year’s Resolutions: Beating Stress During the Festive Season

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Emotional Health related image Photo: Getty Images

Christmas and New Year is not always a time of good will and cheer and is not always enjoyable to everyone. Some people may be separated or divorced, there may be disagreements over where the children spend Christmas or tensions with stepfamilies.

Some people don’t have any family. Maybe they’ve lost touch, fallen out or people have died. Whatever the reason, there will be a portion of society sitting by themselves this Christmas.

Even in families that don’t have these problems, there is an extra strain on the finances, pressure to fit in visits to all the relatives, discussions over which mother-in-law to invite this year and unrealistic ideas about making the whole season perfect.

Depression rates increase over the holiday season. The Mood Disorders Association in Ontario and the Toronto Distress Center in Canada both have an increased number of calls during November and December, but the call rates return to normal in January. Their observations are backed up by scientific studies on the subject.

If your family Christmas and New Year ends up more like an episode of a soap opera and you dread it every year, perhaps you have made a New Year’s resolution to enjoy it this time and to handle stressful situations differently.

Here are a few tips to help you achieve your goal:

1. If you are divorced or juggling with stepfamilies and both you and your ex want the kids for Christmas, you could arrange that one of you has them at Christmas and one at New Year. Or if you can’t bear to be without them, one parent could have them on Christmas morning and the other in the afternoon.

Try to iron out all the arrangements well in advance so that you aren’t arguing during the festivities. If you and your ex don’t have a civil relationship, then you could hire a mediator to help you decide what the arrangements will be. This is done in counseling sessions.

If you are panicking about being on your own when the children are at your ex’s house, you could arrange to go to a friend or relatives house for a meal. If you can’t do this, you could have some "me" time.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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