http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/316612

Curbing holiday family drama: Tips for coping with stress Special

Posted Dec 24, 2011 by Alexandra Christopoulos
While the holidays are typically reserved for celebrating with family and loved ones, taking part in the festivities may leave some feeling less than merry. Family therapist Joanna Seidel shares her tips for keeping the seasonal peace.
The Bay has an annual tradition of celebrating Christmas in dramatic fashion with windows and a fift...
The Bay has an annual tradition of celebrating Christmas in dramatic fashion with windows and a fifth floor filled with decorations, trees and music.
"Stress does come up, we're more vulnerable to it (or anxiety), but we should really just try to enjoy Christmas, the celebrations, and family get-together's," said Seidel.
Although it is supposed to be a happy and nostalgic time, the holidays can also present a dizzying array of demands: parties to attend (or host), shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, naming a few.
It is no wonder many of us become overwhelmed.
But the question for many remains: How do we spend a good holiday when stressful situations arise?
One of the ways she suggests doing this is by looking back on your own thankfulness. Sometimes, she said, simply letting someone know you're there for them is a good medicine.
"Be open," said Seidel. "Be open to your family members; they might need a lot of support."
Reconnecting with loved one's is important, but at the same time, she cautions not to overwhelm yourself by making too many plans.
"There will be times when you just politely need to say 'no.' "
Other times, being realistic may be the best stress reliever. Nice doesn't always mean perfect. At the same time, Seidel reminds it is important to acknowledge one's own feelings. Sometimes, you can't force yourself to fake a smile, just because it is the holidays.
In that case, doing one's best to go with the flow is all to be done, she says.