By MIRANDA ANDERSON –Community Mental Health

During this time of year, there are many of us who are excited for the holidays. There are also many of us who may experience profound stress during the holiday season, even if some don’t want to admit it. For people finding themselves anxious and strained this season, Gogebic County Community Mental Health would like to share some tips for a stress-free holiday season. First, stay safe. There are several hazards to watch out for that are rather unique to the holiday season. When driving during harsh weather conditions, plan to drive in the daylight and give yourself enough time to reach your destination so it won’t be necessary to drive at high speeds. Also, make sure that Christmas lights and decorations do not pose a fire hazard and are out of reach to young children and pets. Second, be realistic. It’s essential to set a budget and stick to it when holiday shopping; this i n c l u d e s avoiding impulse purchases. As for one’s state of mind, try not to expect the holidays to go perfectly. It may be helpful to brainstorm possible causes of and appropriate responses to conflict during special events. Last, take some time to be selfish. The theme of the season is giving, and giving back to oneself definitely counts. It is important to practice self-care during times of high stress; so buy an impractical yet appealing gift and keep it, set aside a day just to relax or do a favorite holiday activity with your friends and family. Plus, as always, it’s important to keep up on regular exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy eating habits. We encourage taking these steps into consideration during the holidays. Though these suggestions may not guarantee stress-free holidays, it sets down a sturdy path to follow for good mental health and a happy holiday season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from GCCMH. Miranda Anderson is a community living support and applied behavior analysis aide with the Community Mental Health office in Wakefield.

Have a stress-free holiday season