The holidays are upon us, but they aren’t always filled with fun, family and friends. On the contrary, the holiday season has the potential to bring about feelings of stress, loneliness and anxiety for many. From decorating, cooking and preparing for guests, to buying gifts and finding the time to wrap them, ho-ho-ho often feels like go-go-go. More than 60 percent of Americans recently said they experience some level of stress during the holidays, while another study found that a massive 45 percent would prefer to skip Christmas entirely because it brings too much financial pressure and stress.  To some people, this may seem shocking and disheartening but, to others, it is very real.  The holidays can also be a difficult time for those who will experience their first Christmas without a loved one, or a potential or real job-loss and loss of income, or a new major disease diagnosis–all of these too can make the holidays seem pretty blah.

The good news in all of this though, is that IT IS OK to feel this way.  You don’t have to pretend the stress isn’t there.  What’s the best way to deal with this?  If someone asks how you are, tell them the truth–that you are stressed.  Maybe that person can offer some help, if nothing else, they’ve listened and you’ve shared and sometimes just acknowledging your feelings is stress relieving by itself.  Schedule some “me” time such as a massage or hair appointment.  Take yourself out for dinner to a nice restaurant.  Take a long walk.  Turn off social media and just watch a favorite television show.  Go to a movie.  Above all, count your blessings!  You’re alive.  You have a doctor who is helping you stay healthy.  You have friends.  You have a job.  You have someplace to call home.  You have food on the table.  Hopefully, you are blessed with these simple blessings and if not, please reach out for help.  There are many people willing to help you.  Yes, you!