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Metropolitan Family Services Offers Tips to Avoid Holiday Stress

The holidays are coming and all the signs are there – temperatures are falling, decorations are already on store shelves and your head is spinning with your growing “To Do” list. Metropolitan Family Services, a leading provider of quality human services in the Chicago area for more than 150 years, offers some advice for coping with holiday-induced stress this year.

For most of us, the stress of the holidays stems from being inundated with added responsibilities to our already hectic lives, such as hosting a houseful of guests or endlessly searching for that perfect gift at the right price. Introduce the complexities of family relationships and financial burdens caused by the current economy and you have a recipe for real uneasiness at the holiday table.

“It’s important to remember that the stress you are feeling is due to your reactions to people and situations and not the holiday season itself,” says Carol Riebold, Program Supervisor at Metropolitan Family Services. “Learning to anticipate and manage those reactions can lead to a more positive outlook about the holidays.”

Here are some tips to help make sure “Happy Holidays” is not just a greeting card phrase for you this season:

  • Recognize that the holiday season may mean added stresses for you and mentally prepare yourself.
  • Keep realistic expectations. The truth is there is no “perfect” holiday celebration.
  • Budget your time appropriately by prioritizing tasks and breaking duties down into manageable bits.
  • Ask everyone to pitch in. Sharing the chores or bringing a dish to pass will help lift some of the burden of being the holiday host.
  • Remain flexible. Over-planning tends to create too much tension. Remember it’s all about enjoying people and traditions, not sticking to a meticulous schedule.
  • Don’t overspend. Plan and track your finances so you won’t have to worry about bills pouring in after the holidays.
  • Consider volunteering your time to give you a fresh perspective.
  • Pencil in some down time to alleviate stress, either by exercising or curling up with a good book.
  • Get out and get some fresh air and sunlight. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression, is common in the darker, winter months.

About Metropolitan Family Services
Metropolitan Family Services has been at the heart of Chicago’s city and suburban communities responding to the needs of families for more than 150 years. Through seven major community centers, their related locations and public policy advocacy, Metropolitan serves low-income and working-poor families facing a dynamic and ever-changing environment. As an integral part of each community we serve, we listen, actively participate and lead the way in helping families realize their amazing strength.