By Katherine Ryan on December 18, 2014

Holiday Stress by



It’s a crazy, wild time of year ~ isn’t it?  So much to do, so many places to go, so much…  everything.   As a psychotherapist I see a spike in anxiety and depression immediately before and after the “Holiday Season” and I offer you these tips to help you navigate what can be a difficult and/or a joyous time of year.

  1. Make time to find peace within yourself.  Try one of these suggestions:  Have coffee while looking out the window (no TV or radio),

Meditate for 3 minutes once each day

Breathe ~ inhale through your nose for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale through your mouth for a count of 5-6 for 10 breaths

  1. If you participate in gift giving try giving an experience instead of a thing
  2. Whatever your religion or spirituality remember the reason for the celebration
  3. Find time to give to your community and involve your children.  I know of one family that has a guideline that for one new thing that comes in, one thing goes out to charity.  Find something that makes sense to you; it could be volunteering or donating
  4. Linger in the pleasurable moments.  Take in compliments; bask in the beauty of nature if only for a moment
  5. Start or continue with a gratitude journal.  Start with reflecting three moments you are grateful for and when that becomes easy increase to 5, then 10.  Make your journal entries at the end of the day so that you go to sleep lingering in the pleasurable
  6. Be present.  Stop.  Look up.  Look around.  Breathe.
  7. I invite you to suspend the idea that Christmas needs to be “perfect” and to appreciate the season for what it is
  8. I invite you to, instead of buying a present , to write a letter (not emails, not texts) to someone who has touched you and let them know that you carry them in your heart.
  9. I invite you to take back your power and S L O W your life down.   Truly, you don’t need to rush here and there or attend all of the parties you are invited to.  Think back, do you remember the gifts that you were given, the parties you attended or the special moments?  Make more moments.

I hope you found these tips helpful.  If you can adopt a few of them you will find this season to be a bit more peaceful.   As Gandi said, “There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.”

katherine~Katherine Ryan is a LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor) and owner of Harmony Counseling in Topsfield, Massachusetts.  She enjoys helping adults, children and teens become unstuck.  Please visit Harmony Counseling on FaceBook @





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