Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and a plethora of parties and family get-togethers are ahead for the next two months. Even people who handle day-to-day stress will sometimes become overwhelmed during the holidays.

Set priorities. Budget and time are the biggest areas that add stress to the season. It’s OK to turn down invitations and to talk to family and friends about limits on gift giving.

Be realistic. Most everyone laughs at National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation because many of us get caught up like Clark Griswold in some element of the holidays. No holiday is perfect. It’s important to set realistic expectations, and accept when things don’t go as planned.

Acknowledge your loss. The first holiday after losing a loved one is difficult. It’s important for family members to talk about their feelings and help each other through the grieving process.

Accept differences. We cannot change others, but we can change the way that we react to them.  By ignoring comments that are triggers for conflict, we will make the holidays happier for ourselves and others.

Seek help. If the holidays become overwhelming for you or your family, it is OK to ask for help. Our agency and others are available during the holidays and year-round.

The CALM Center is available 24/7 including holidays for children ages 10-17 in a behavioral, emotional or substance abuse crisis. Families with a child in crisis can call 918.394.2256.

Our Tulsa and Sand Springs offices will be open Monday-Friday except for Nov. 28-29, Dec. 25, and New Year’s Day, Jan. 1.

Everyone at Counseling & Recovery Services of Oklahoma hopes the holidays will be stress free and fun for you and your family.