Magazine article USA TODAY

It's Best to Roll with the Punches

Magazine article USA TODAY

It's Best to Roll with the Punches

Article excerpt

Instead of focusing on the "ideal" holiday, set realistic expectations--both with time and money--to reduce the amount of stress during the season, says Dee Love, an extension specialist in the School of Consumer and Family Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. "When you're feeling stressed, don't shift to automatic. Stop and think about why you are doing what you are doing. You may need to ask yourself, 'What am I really feeling right now? What's most important to me and my family?' Create your own traditions, and select activities that reflect your holiday values."

Do not expect everything to come off as planned, because unexpected events--such as children getting sick or the stove not working--can, and do, happen. "Be adaptable and flexible and look for the humor in challenging situations," Love suggests. "Remember, you can create a wonderful family experience based on how you all handled a difficult situation together."

To reduce the amount of stress, be aware of "stressor pileup," which are holiday events that disrupt a family's routine. …

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