When the holiday season rolls around you have one of two reactions:
1. You conjure up the images of fresh baked cookies, hot cocoa, a warm, crackling fire, and spending time with the ones you love.
-OR-
2. You picture yourself fighting for a parking spot at the mall and arguing with your family.

According to the American Psychological Association, nearly 90% of American women expect that something will stress them out over the holiday season (Thanks Woman’s Day). Why are we so negative (myself included)? Why do we set ourselves up for a doomed holiday?

There are many stressors that occur over the most wonderful time of the year:
• You have extra bills to worry about. No hubster, I didn’t charge anything on the credit cards? I swear. (Whoops!)
• You spend a bazillion hours on picking out just the right present for everyone on your massive list. And then they just tear into it, look at it briefly, and then toss it aside to get to their next gift.
• One word: In-Laws. Enough said.
• You try to create a Martha Stewart picturesque holiday display. And try as you might, it’s just never a good thing.
• Then there’s my all time fear: getting stuck in a snowstorm. Whether it’s being stuck in the house for several days or being stuck in traffic on my way home, I fear this the most. As soon as I see the first snow flake fall, I wonder how I’m going to get home and how much snow is going to fall.

So what are some things you can do to lighten up and enjoy the holidays?
1. Speak Up – Don’t wait until you are about to become Mt. St. Helena’s and blow. Make sure you tell the people around you how they can help you. You know if you wait for them to volunteer on their own, you’ll be waiting for a very long time.

2. Stop Fantasizing – It’s never going to perfect. So what you burned the cookies? Just drunk them a little while longer in your tall glass of iced cold milk.

3. Do Some Good – When you help others, you feel better about yourself. Volunteer at a shelter, donate an old winter coat, or participate in a food drive. Every little bit counts!

Now it’s your turn, what stresses you out during the holidays? How do you plan on relaxing and enjoying your holiday?

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