How people cope with holiday stress

Jacksonville therapist says to make time to care for yourself

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 2012 survey found that 45 percent of people wish they could skip Christmas altogether. 

Traveling, dealing with family and extra spending are among the top reasons some people feel less than jolly over the holidays.

"This year was pretty stressful," Heidi Settle said. "I’ve got over 200 presents under my tree right now."

People find different ways to cope with the stress.

"A lot of prayer," Stanley Black said. "Cure for anything is prayer."

"Mimosas always help," Kara Crosby said.

Kathy Mendair also turns to alcohol to calm down.

"Probably don’t want to hear, (but) Fireball is the right answer," Mendair said.

Others told News4Jax they're not stressed at all.

"Typically I work about 75 to 80 hour week, and so I’m actually off this week," Christina Zorn said. "I’m out on a Monday, riding a bike, enjoying this beautiful weather is the opposite of stress. I know that it can be a very difficult time of year for a lot of people, so a little kindness goes a long way."

Kristin Rispoli, a therapist at Breakthroughs Counseling and Recovery, advises people to keep everything in perspective.

"It is OK to feel bad. That’s one thing that you shouldn’t really beat yourself up about," Rispoli said. "What we tell our clients is treat yourself like you would your best friend. If your friend was coming to you with that same exact problem, would you be telling them what you’re telling yourself?"

Rispoli said if you’re hosting a celebration and you’re worried about pulling it off, there are ways to conquer that, as well.

"Don’t take on everything. Ask people specifically what I want them to bring," Rispoli said. "They’re coming over to your house; let them bring something. Specifically, 'Hey, I need you to grab a bag of ice,' or, 'I need you to grab a side of veggies.' Delegate tasks, so it’s not all on you and that will help you financially."

Rispoli said always make time to take care of yourself.

"A lot of people think that self-care, you have to spend money, and that’s not true. You can go sit outside. You can read a book. You can go in the bath, light a candle. Journal. There’s a bunch of different things to take care of yourself, especially after the holidays."

Rispoli said if you’re feeling more than just holiday stress and you’re feeling depressed, or even maybe suicidal, you should talk to a professional.

If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide, please know you are not alone. 
Please call the National Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. They'll answer your call 24/7.

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