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Coping with the Stress of the Holidays

News 10 NBC, 12/15/08
by Lynette Adams

Every year many people look forward to the holidays but along with the fun comes a great deal of stress for some. So how can you reduce the stress and get more enjoyment out of the holidays?

The hustle and bustle at the mall, the lines at the post office – ‘tis the season to be jolly but not everyone feels that way. Many people succumb to the stress that the holidays bring.

“You're just rushing, hoping you get everything done.” Hornell resident Helen Ratliff works six days a week and has little spare time. She and her daughter Alicia hoped to put a dent in their Christmas shopping. “II was up until midnight baking cookies and I was back up at four o'clock this morning.”

Add two busy little boys to Perinton resident Andrianna McNally's busy life. “I'm not sure if you have a strategy for coping or if you find at the end of the holiday season you're just pooped? We're just pooped but we do the best we can to just get through it and take each day at a time.”

Ratliff and McNally are not alone. Many people particularly women, usually work right through the holidays with little time to enjoy them.

Professional organizer Dorothy Madden said, “I think the secret is to do less and try to have a little more balance in our lives, a little more time to enjoy the family rather than have everything be perfect. There really is no such thing as perfect.”

Madden says work from a list and delegate. “If you're having a party or if you have the budget to do it to hire a caterer. Hire someone to clean your home, hire a babysitter so you can have time to yourself.”

She also recommends that you get enough sleep, eat well and work out. And if all else fails, you may like to adopt Mary Ann Chaff's philosophy. “Christmas is not about gift giving. Christmas is about family, about love, about celebrating the season.”

Madden says it's important to maintain your sense humor.