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How To Deal With Stress During the Holiday Season

Updated on December 29, 2014

Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life.:
Marilu Henner

Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations….whew, that’s a mouthful!

Stress is defined by the medical community as an organism’s total response to its environment. Some people handle stress quite well; others have not found the coping skills to do so. In some cases, stress is increased because of medical conditions. There are also studies to show that certain types of personalities do not do as well with stress, most notably Type A personalities.

Whatever the factors, and whatever the causes may be, stress is real and at times it can be debilitating for the individual.

In a recent study, the number one cause of stress was determined to be the loss of a loved one. Number six on that list was the holidays, with Christmas leading the way.

Why is that? What is there about the holidays that brings about so much stress in people?

This should be a time of joy
This should be a time of joy

A Look at a Few of the Reasons

So much to do; got to go, got to hurry, got to finish this up, and that up, and then start in on that over there, and how am I ever going to get all of this done before Christmas? Shopping for presents, wrapping the presents, putting up decorations, baking cookies and candies, shopping for family dinners, and on and on we go, and it seems to be endless from early November straight through to Christmas.

Or how about this one? We don’t have enough money to buy the kids some presents? What are we going to do? Should we take out a loan? Should we run up credit card debt? Should we borrow from our relatives? And do they expect us to buy gifts for them as well? How are we going to find the money for all of this?

And then there is this one! Oh no, we have to spend the holidays with your mother-and father, and you know they hate me, and the kids can’t stand Uncle Bert, and why should we spend the holiest of days listening to those cousins cuss, and no matter what I do I can’t get my mother to love me, and now I have to spend an entire weekend with her.

Or the flip side….I have nobody to spend the holidays with! Every year at this time I have to listen to all the family affairs that are going on, and I see all these happy faces, and I just want to scream because dammit, I’m not happy and I can’t stand this time of year.

Then we have those who are now divorced, and have all the former memories of happy family functions, and now all they have left is the memory, and quite frankly that memory leaves them sad and frantically looking for some substitute to fill the void. Of course, we have kids of divorced parents who have to divide their loyalty among two separate parents, and give love to both of them, and keep the peace between the parents, and think about years gone by when it was one big happy family rather than two miserable entities.

Oh yes, there is stress during the holidays!

Family hopefully brings you joy
Family hopefully brings you joy

So What to Do About It?

Yes, there are those who have medical conditions that tend to increase stress, or who are more prone towards stress. If that is the case, I leave you to the medical expertise of your physician.

For the rest of us, however, we need to refer to the quote at the beginning of this article, because the answer truly does lie there. Stress really does have to do with control issues and expectations.

No living creature wants to feel as though they have lost control, but quite often during the holidays, it seems as though we have done exactly that. The more control we gain, the less stress we will feel, and I believe the loss of control has everything to do with the level and reality of our expectations.

If we do not have enough money to buy expensive presents for Christmas, we feel stress, and yet the stress is directly related to unrealistic expectations regarding gift-giving. Some of the best gifts I have been given over the years were gifts that cost nothing. For my birthday one year, my wife gave me a framed collage of thank you notes written by my students when I retired from teaching. I was in tears when I received it, and not a day goes by that I do not look at it and smile.

We are low on funds yet again this year, but we feel no stress. We have told our family members that money is short and not to expect much. Read that again….we told them not to expect much. We took care of their expectations, we reined in our expectations, and there is no stress.

Do you feel stress over the holidays?

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Other Scenarios

Are you dreading having to face some relatives you would rather not face? Well, your expectations are that you will have a miserable time, but it does not have to be that way now does it? You have not lost control over the situation; you have just chosen to give up control.

The first suggestion I would have is to not spend time with those relatives if they cause you unhappiness. I am quite certain most people would say that’s impossible to do, that you can’t just ignore family, but I would say to you of course you can. If family makes you unhappy and adds stress to your life, then why visit them?

On the other hand, you can do your very best to avoid that family when you are in their company, or you can adjust your expectations in that you expect them to be a pain in the butt and they will not disappoint you. If you have realistic expectations, even if they are negative, then you are in complete control of the situation. Deal with it and move on!

What about those broken families? Well, start new traditions! Yes there is sadness in remembering the old days, but you can replace that sadness by beginning new, happier memories.

What, you say you have nobody to spend the holidays with? Well then get out of the house and volunteer to help others. The absolute worst thing you can do is sit at home feeling sorry for yourself, all stressed out over your deplorable loneliness. The fastest way to eliminate feeling sorry for yourself is to help others who are less fortunate than you are.

Peace of mind
Peace of mind | Source

A Dose of Reality

We are not helpless! We are not at the complete mercy of negative factors in life. There will always be circumstances that are out of our control; we are, after all, human beings and in no way are we all-powerful or in charge of life. Knowing, however, that we cannot control everything, is a huge step towards reducing stress. The economy sucks, you have no job, you have no money, and you have no way to buy presents for loved ones. Then, in that case, there is no stress, because you recognize that you have no control over the economy. You are realistic about the situation and you move on with your life.

Whatever it is that is causing you stress over the holidays, it is necessary to recognize it for what it is; once you have done that you have taken a huge step towards establishing realistic expectations.

One final note….I know, eventually, that I will die, but I guarantee I won’t die from stress-related issues. I am thankful for the things I have rather than bemoaning the things I don’t have. I find happiness in life rather than looking for unhappiness. I am surrounded by love, and I give it return with no expectations. In other words, I have found that quiet place inside of myself where I am at peace, not just during the holidays, but all days. I wish that for all of you!

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Well I woke up full of gratitude today...and I have just as many problems and issues as others. However, I look to good health, enough money to pay the bills, a good partner and a sense of fun that is always with me. We do not have family to share our day with but we have good friends (chosen family). We can worry our heads off but guess what it does nothing but cause more stress. As we have remarked before many of us just have the happy spark...I am not perfect and fret over things sometimes that are meaningless. Anyway a great hub for the day and enjoy your day a lot..

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      I am thankful for friends such as you who provide me with hubs such as this. I will carry it with me throughout the day. I am happy to report that Mom has been invited to spend the day with friends who make her happy and provide much laughter.

      I am more happy to report that I was told by a local shelter that they had so much assistance this year, they had to start respectfully declining. It restores my faith in humanity to hear that.

      I am also happy to report that my best friend Bella will be keeping me on my toes, far too energetic a puppy to have any time for stress.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you, my dear friend. XO

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, I agree with your statement about a happy spark. I am, by nature, an optimist and upbeat. There have been times in my life when I squashed that because of drinking, but those days are long gone.

      Blessings to you today my friend; thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Cathy Fidelibus profile image

      Ms. Immortal 4 years ago from NJ

      I like your philosophy on life, you are wise. You may want to check out Katie Byron. She has a philosphy similar to yours.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Beckie, I am glad that you mother will have good friends to spend time with. I am also happy that you came into my life. You, and others like you, have restored my faith in humanity.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you my dear. Here is a special hug on a special day.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Cathy! Wise? Maybe just old! LOL Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 4 years ago

      Great and insightful thoughts for these stressful days coming our way. You rest assure your message will be instilled in the minds of your faithful readers. Actually parents are reading from above that shotting star my friend. When we have a heart we are feeling the pulse of life giving by our parents. Your writing is phenomenal and we have to catch up with so much said during Sandy, that lady that brought us a dreadful "candy." Happy thanksgiivng my friend!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      This is actually the first Thanksgiving that I do not feel any stress whatsoever. We planned to start traveling tomorrow, so that in and of itself, as reduced the stress factor, as most will have already arrived at their destination. Great hub dear.

      Peace to you always, Faith Reaper

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Joseph! You were surely missed the past three weeks. I wish for you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving. May blessings abound for you today and always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, as always, thank you for a lovely visit. Stay safe tomorrow and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, your message is clear and beautiful. I can tell you this I have so much to do in the next few weeks, but am going to try when I do feel stress creeping up on me to remember your article and words here, because you are very right and wise, too. Happy Thanksgiving again my friend!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I am not so sure that I am wise....I've just lived longer than you and picked up a few more things along the way. :) Is that wisdom or old age? LOL Thank you my dear and Happy Thanksgiving to you and that wonderful family.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 4 years ago from SW England

      Stress is too easy to give way to. I don't have nearly as much as when I was working but now I find that I can measure my reactions and temper them with reality! I have realised that most of my stress is created by me so have been able to reduce it to almost nothing - by, guess what!, expectations and control! Great read billy. We do not have thanksgiving here but I'm really thankful that I can read your hubs, laugh with you, and find wisdom in your words. Have a great thanksgiving day and may it be totally stress free! Ann

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 4 years ago from UK

      I've seen several articles lately on how to cope with holiday stress. It's ironic that what in theory is a time of happiness needs to be coped with and can cause so much stress. I've known people take out loans to pay for Christmas presents and still be paying them off in March and to me that's defeating the whole point. I would never want someone to get into debt to buy me a present and I'm fairly sure neither would most people.

      I think your point about expectations is a good one, and letting go of expectations and just allowing what comes is a great way to reduce stress. I also think like your point that we can't control everything! Very true.

      I'm sure this hub will be very helpful to many.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Billy, you're on the money here, we stress about the things we want to change, we stress about the things we don't want change, we stress about stress. But here's the thing; When the storm subsides, more often than not, we are still standing, even as we bracing ourselves for the next onslaught. Stress can be good or bad, it is how our body cope with threats we just need to be able to control it, and not let it control us. Another great no nonsense write. Well done.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      In other words, I have found that quiet place inside of myself where I am at peace, not just during the holidays, but all days. I wish that for all of you!

      Oh yes Billy I can relate to this and isn't it great to have reached this point in our lives.

      Everything you say I will second and this is why so many of us carry to be lifelong friends.We understand ;we can empathise and we can share in our victories no matter how small.A victory is a victory!!

      Another great hub Billy and it runs alongside that 'Glass half empty/glass half full quote!!'

      Here's to so many more hubs for us both to share on here my dear friend.

      Eddy.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

      Bill, there is no place like home (that quiet place inside ourselves) and your light shines from within, every time you lay your experience out on these pages for us. Like you, I refuse to die of stress related illness as well. I particularly liked your honesty about not spending time with people who make you feel stressed. People pleasing is a dead-end. :-) Wonderful piece of advice.

    • MKayo profile image

      MKayo 4 years ago from Texas

      Great tips on relieving stress. thanks for the article - voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, a dead end for sure, and I'm not going down the road. My road is paved with happiness and hope, just the way I like it.

      Happy Thanksgiving dear friend, and thank you for being who you are.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eddy, we have paid our dues and now we get to sit back and enjoy the rewards of our efforts. It is a great place to be for sure.

      Thank you my dear friend, and now I owe you a visit. Peace be with you today and always.

      billy

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MKayo, thank you my friend, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, I don't have much nonsense in me, so I'm glad you enjoy me the way I am. :) I have lived with stress in the past, and it has controlled me. Thus, I am able to appreciate a life without its control. Thank you my UK friend. I hope you have a wonderful afternoon.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yvonne, the day I came tor realize that I am not in control of most things in life, is the day I began to find freedom from stress. A little stress is good; it keeps us sharp. A lot of stress only breeds more stress, and that can never be a good thing. Thank you my friend. I hope you are having a great day.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, thank you for that lovely wish. The turkey is baking, the dressing is cooking, the pies are made, and there is not an ounce of stress in my life. Life is good my friend, and I am so appreciative of friends like you, who allow me to expand my knowledge of the world and different cultures. I love HP and I greatly appreciate you.

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      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      This quote is very true. I agree with your points. I really don't understand what all the fuzz is about people going shopping on thanksgiving Aka. Black thurs. Today, is a day to spend with family& friends. I don't like crowds nor having to fight over a parking space, and besides black friday is not the only shopping day to do christmas presents. Good hub my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Doc! For me, this holiday is not about shopping and never will be. I love spending time with loved ones, and the aroma of great food cooking, and being surrounded by smiles.

      Happy Thanksgiving Doc and thank you!

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 4 years ago from Florida

      Christmas is a time for sharing your love, and nothing says “I Love You” better than a dish of fudge or divinity given to relative with an attached beautiful homemade card from your favorite computer software.

      Fix a jar with filled with a brownie mix or any cake mix---they are on sale now in most grocery story for a $1.00 a box and add instructions on what to add and how to prepare. Put a bow on it.

      There are so many things you can make and share with “Shut-ins” and people who do not have families in Nursing Homes.

      Families should just draw names---we do this in the South. Then each member will have to only buy one gift.

      Christmas is a Christian Celebration for our Lord---it is not for maxing-out credit cards or borrowing money for gifts.

      For couples with small children—lay-away is great and also for toys and clothes. Plan ahead and shop all year for your children. Also check the Consignment shops for toys---you can wash most stuff animals for a sanitary gift.

      And Christmas Shop Online---and save your nerves.

      Bill, you are so great with your frugal hubs or anything your write for that matter.

      Bobbi

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I do not stress about gifts or that...my family has the "we only buy for the kids" rule. I do get everyone something small that is fun or useful. Like lottery tickets - I might stick 5 scratch off's in a card or find a token that reflects something in the nature of the recipient.

      That's my favorite part Bill! It's like a guilty pleasure...I go shopping at unique stores for gifts that say, "I thought about you truly." If it's a calendar or a bumper sticker - they know I did use thought! Haha

      Is a blast! So I enjoy it a lot...I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday! This year my gift was taking the family to Mexico! We are all gonna spend it together on the beach....no muss no fuss! I can't wait!

    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Hi Bill, and what an insightful hub this is.

      I'm always rushing. At work, I accidentally bump into people sometimes and the sad thing is I don't have a reason to be rushed, just am. I'm never late to work and I never take advantage of the company in any way, but I just can't seem to slow down. Well, at least I'm aware of my problem. Some people rush through life never taking the time to enjoy.

      Voted up on your great hub

      John

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bobbi, I love your suggestions! We draw names here and buy one gift....then Bev and I exchange one for each other....and that's it. No stress at all anymore. Today we gave a pie to the first homeless person we saw on the street....you should have seen the smile on his face. :)

      Thank you my friend; I happen to think you are pretty great yourself.

      Happy Thanksgiving Bobbi!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kelly, I love your guilty pleasure; very cool idea and who knows, it may one day turn into a fantastic guilty pleasure.

      I hope you have a wonderful time in Mexico, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      John, I really do understand. Bev is a lot like you; being around me has slowed her up greatly. LOL We balance each other perfectly.

      Thank you my friend and Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Dancing Water profile image

      Dancing Water 4 years ago

      Hi, Bill! Great hub that delineates the issue of stress succinctly, and offers a way to avoid it. You are preaching to the choir in my case. Once we find that quiet place within, and remain there regardless, stress becomes practically a non-issue. Thank you for enlightening us!

      Blessings to you and yours,

      Reba

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Reba, that quiet place within is a cool pool of welcomed water for me; I searched for it for a long, long time, and now I think I'll pitch my tent there for the remainder of my days.

      Blessings to you and yours as well my friend,

      bill

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Stress is as we make it. Sometimes it makes me feel better that I don't have a big family. I do appreciate the simplicity. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Bev!

    • RobinGrosswirth23 profile image

      Robin Grosswirth 4 years ago from New York

      Bill, g'd bless you! You always strike a nerve (in a good way) and think of articles that touch our lives. And, you always shepherd us to reality and being the best in us-- we learn a lot from you too. Thanks! Hope you are having a great holiday.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Superb hub Bill! If we could avoid stress, by all means avoid it! Up until a couple of years ago I stressed out during the holidays. I no longer do, I passed that genetic trait onto my daughters. Yay for me that they enjoy the stress so much. I'm a proud mom :) Happy Holidays to you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Robin, you are always so generous of your praise. I thank you for that, and I hope your holiday was special as well.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, I miss the old days when I had large family functions, but now, with only my son and Bev, I have had to learn to adjust. You are right of course; stress is what we make it.

      Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda....LOL...what are mom's for if they can't pass the good stuff on to their kids. That's a great comment. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      I think the thing that causes the most stress over the holidays is $ for gifts and preparing them on time....so one way to get round the problem of costs is to get them earlier, perhaps when sales are going on. Or create things. Thanks for sharing, and I share too.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      All great advice on taking stress out of the holiday season. I avoid those who cause me negative reactions and am trying to build new relationships with blended families. In a way, the economy is forcing us to realize what Christmas gifting really means. Keeping it simple and to the heart is the best advice. Thanks for the advice.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Bill, stress definitely increases for a lot of people over the holidays. I would put myself in the type B category and don't stress too much--but the holidays can still get to me! You have great suggestions on how to cope and deal with the stress. I think it would help us all to just sit back and think about what it is that might be stressing us out and then deal with them head on. I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and I'm positive that you weren't too stressed out! Go ahead and have another piece of pie, you only live once!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      May the blessing of the season be with you. My stresses are 1) many of my friends are dying. 2) The new volunteers are not as aggressive as I was. 3) The people I worked with have given way to complacency.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 4 years ago from London, UK

      Very useful and timely. I do stress a bit but it's more for making others feel happy. Making sure they enjoy it etc.

      Hope you and Bev had a lovely Thanksgiving.

    • crystaleyes profile image

      crystaleyes 4 years ago from Earth

      Very useful article billy, just what I needed.. been very stressed the past few weeks.. yes holidays are indeed stressful..

      But nevertheless, we cannot do without them.. we wait the entire year for them.

      I have started deep breathing to cope with stress, and a laugh with your loved ones is enough to De-stress you, and this happens only during the festive times, when the entire family is together.. isn't it?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michelle, very good suggestion. There is money to be saved by shopping early; not doubt about it. Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, obviously I agree with your comment. We only buy one gift each, and everyone is fine with that. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, I almost had pie for breakfast, and then I decided that was pushing the holiday thing a bit too much. :)

      No, no stress for this boy over the holidays. Most stress is manageable if we are willing to identify it and its causes.

      Thank you my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martin, those are definitely stress-worthy. My best to you and yours, and thank you so much for always being here.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Elena, at least your heart is in the right place. Thank you for your Thanksgiving wish and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Crystal, I love those two methods...I have found deep-breathing helps me immensely, and laughter is always a wonderful remedy. Thank you for that comment and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Bill, great hub as always. I have to say I am lucky that I do not get stressed over the holidays and probably even less so now that I am not working - I seem to thrive on the busy things at holiday time, I like the buzz of it all but then I am still happy to have a rest afterwards.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Julie, I don't stress either. I love the holidays and all that it entails....far cry from ten years ago.

      Thank you my friend!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Bill, perfect timing. So many people get so stressed this time of year. It's supposed to be a time to enjoy being with family and friends. Like you, I do not get stressed by all of this.

      Hope you had I great Thanksgiving.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, i love the holidays and will continue to do so. It's all about family and loved ones, buddy; everything else is silliness. :) Thank you my friend.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Great suggestions, as you say value of gifts does not depend on the price. It is the love that comes along that matters.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vellur, it always comes down to love! :) Thank you!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I used to freak out around the holidays because of everything going on and then I realized it just was not worth it. Now, if something does not get done..oh well, if I can't make it to one event...oh well. Don't get me wrong, I still get a little stressed, but it's just much more manageable.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, I was there at one time as well, and like you, I eventually said "oh well." There is only so much I can do, and I'm not going to beat myself up over my limitations.

      Thank you my friend!

    • CMCastro profile image

      Christina M. Castro 4 years ago from Baltimore,MD USA

      I can definitely relate to this. I know that increased stress has put an aggravation on certain physical conditions I have, so in order to destress, I compensate and moderate the things I do and I adjust my eating habits and try to get more rest if I can.

      There are so many things we can do, as long as we are willing to take the advice. Thank you, billybuc.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      You have some very good suggestions for avoiding or relieving stress during the holiday season, Bill. It's sad that a season which we celebrate with gratitude can lead to so much tension!

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      Bill, I love how you cut through the crap and get to the heart of the matter :) I will be re-reading this one a few times this month I am sure. Great hub as always!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      CM, thank you for that comment and the suggestions. Stress is real and it can be crippling if not addressed.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alicia, it really is sad. So many grim faces during what should be a wonderfully loving season.

      Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jamie, I guess I do, don't I? LOL I'm getting old, Jamie, and I don't have time to beat around the bush. :) Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I was watching the news tonight and actually saw people pepper spray others to get their prized reduced gifts. And that was on a Thursday, now called gray Trursday. I just felt appalled. A woman was ringing her bell for a gift to the Salvation Army, they rushed by her like she was not there. I usually am not stressed, but this act of unkindness stressed me out. I for one will be glad when this frenzy is over. People have forgotten the real meaning for Christmas. Great write Bill..Cheers

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I have never shopped on Black Friday and I never will. In fact, I don't have any reason to shop for this holiday at all this year. Yes, for sure, that would be a sad thing to see, and yet it does not surprise me one bit.....and perhaps that is the saddest thing of them all.

      Thank you my dear friend.

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      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      bill.....The bad news is, Stress sucks. The good news is, we do have the power to control, lessen and even eliminate stress entirely. It's a simple matter of paying attention and using good old-fashioned common sense with a bit of self-kindness thrown in. It's a classic lesson of "live and learn."...or.. the best way to avoid that pain in your head, is to stop whacking yourself in the head with a hammer....

      Takes a little time, a lot of realistic thinking, determination and follow-through.

      Your hub is a great lesson in perfecting the avoidance of stress, whether it be Holiday stress or everyday stress.....and people will only GET IT, when they have tired of doing-what-they-don't-want-to-do-for-reasons-that-are-entirely-acceptable-BUT-continue-to-do-these-things-they-hate-that-cause-them-stress-because-they-think-they-HAVE-to-OR-that-someone-will-DIE-if-they-don't-do-it!!!

      And those connected words are the title of my Christmas Carol, which I lovingly dedicate to my friend,bill.....(Sing to the tune of your favorite song...any song.)

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      HLPhoenix 4 years ago

      Stress is such a part of daily life... but holidays bring stress from the past to the forefront... so many losses, so many that you can no longer celebrate with... I give thanks for the good years I had with them and go joyfully to spend this year's hollidays only with those happy to be with me... I give thanks Billybuc, for your Hub and for those in whose presence I can forget the stress caused by others. Thanks for your insightful guide to lowering holiday stress am passing on as a gift to my friends.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, thank you for a wonderful comment. I have lost family during this time of the year, and it is hard still after so many decades. Happily I am now able to celebrate in the time I had with them.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, I think you have a new career as a song writer waiting for you. :)

      If we keep doing what we're doing we'll keep getting what we're getting.....stress can, indeed, be eliminated or diminished and I agree, it is in most cases a matter of choice. For this boy, pain is the great motivator, or at least it was in the past. I had to hurt enough so that change was the only thing that made sense. Luckily I've grown out of that annoying habit. :)

      Thank you my friend!

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      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Billybuc.

      In a messed up sort of way, I both welcome and dread the stress of holidays. I dread it because it burns up an awful lot of energy and it takes me a day or two to get my strength back. I welcome it because it seems part and parcel of the holidays and if I didn't feel stressed, I somehow feel that I didn't it 'right.' I don't get that either; it just is.

      This year my oldest daughter helped me with Thanksgiving. I had no idea how much she had come on with her cooking skills. It was good to know I could depend on her to help with the meal. I was still stressed but it was more manageable and I couldn't have been more please with the results.

      I think I need the stress of the holidays to help me pull it all together. Maybe I need to change the way I handle the stress.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, that's an interesting comment and thank you for your honesty. Although I doubt stress can ever be a good thing for our health, some people, like you, seem to function quite nicely with a certain level of stress, and I understand what you are saying. Thank you for a great insight.

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      Sondra 4 years ago from Neverland

      Hey Bill, this Hub sure is coming at just the right time :) I am already stressed thinking about the holidays and how I will find time to see everyone in the family and how I will make sure this year is good for the kids with all the changes they're going through right now. I love the quote at the beginning...Im going to make it my screensaver tp help me remember to "be cool". Great Hub as always and voted up across and shared.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ardie, you are in a tough spot. I was there twenty years ago, fresh from a divorce, a single parent, wanting to make Christmas special for my son....it is hard for sure. I'm sending you a hug for the day, and thank you for being who you are.

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      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      I love the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving! It has always been my crazy idea to have popcorn for dinner, and just enjoy the company. No stress there. Your suggestions are so simple and true, why did I not think of them before? Instead of anticipating the worst, I think I will just go with the flow. It should be interesting to see how that works out. Voted this marvelous article Up, Useful and Awesome. Great work, Billy. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Pearl

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pearl, I hope it works for you. I used to struggle with this a great bit, but have finally learned to enjoy the holidays. We did have a wonderful Thanksgiving; thank you for that and thank you for taking the time to comment. Bless you my friend and I hope your Thanksgiving was a good one as well.

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      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Good middle of the night...Bill

      Be in control rather than letting situations control us...that makes so much sense and is clearly a no brainer. But, alas, many still get caught up in the the commercial side of holidays or birthdays and stress looms on the horizon and will destroy the joy of the holiday.

      Making it clear to others what you can do for the holiday gift giving does indeed take the pressure off and the expectations as you say are for whatever you say you can do

      When my daughter was a young girl money was tight most of the time, including gift giving time. When she was old enough to undestand I would explain to her what I could get her for a gift. I also explained that I may be able to purchase a few more things after the holidays as so many things were (are) on sale. She knew the expectations and so the holiday was not a disaster.

      And it isn't jus the gifts either as you say. It is all of everything else that maeks it stressful if we allow it. Regaining control and refocuing prorities can help. Thank you so much, Bill, for addressing this issue.

      Happy stress free holidays, my friend...Sending Angels your way. ps

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, those angels are lovely, and you are a cherished peer and friend. I love that you explained to your daughter about gifts....kids are so resilient if they are openly communicated to. Well done my friend; as for me, there will be no stress for this boy during the holidays.

      Thank you PS....I truly do appreciate you!

      bill

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Chris, it is a fun show...glad you enjoyed it, and thank you!

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      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      A winner hub yet again Bill. Stress is manageable if, as you rightly say, we are realistic of situations and adapt our thinking accordingly. Voted up & interesting.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rajan, it is always nice to have you visit my humble site. Being realistic is most definitely the key to controlling stress. Thank you Sir!

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      Nancy McClintock 4 years ago from Southeast USA

      Love it.Voted up!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nancy, thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      What great advice, Bill! Fortunately, my son is understanding when funds are tight. We expect nothing but spending time with each other, even if there is nothing to open. Maybe everyone should try that once in a while and redirect the spririt of Christmas to what the celebration is all about. It's not about gifts. It's celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, we do get sidetracked during this season, don't we? Ours is a simple celebration, spending time with loved ones and enjoying each other's company. That's it; one present for each, and a lot of joy!

      Thank you dear lady; hope you are having a great day.

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      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Any day is up to the individual on how they choose to make it. If they don't take time out they will have to face the consequences. Your advice is is most helpful.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DDE, I completely agree with you. Stress can be controlled. I often wonder if there are some people who are comfortable with stress and actually enjoy it.

      Anyway, thank you!

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      Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

      Stress is something that the most of us deal with. Everyone say "don't worry about the things you can't change" or "just change what really bothers you" .. but as we all know such advices are much easier said than done :P

      Well,, let's release stress at least during the holidays :) and this is a great article to help with !

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, it is, for sure, easier said than done. Thank you for your comment and happy holidays to you and yours.

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