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Do You Have a Handle on Holiday Blues?

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We are in the throes of the holiday season, a merry time of year -- but that's not true for many of us who are living a less-than-perfect life and may feel that we should be further along than we actually are. This may cause us to feel out of sorts, experiencing emotional highs and lows.

Here are some tips that can help you to cope with holiday stress when you are feeling out of sorts:

Intense feelings can be fleeting. During the holidays, everything is magnified, and so are your feelings. Realize that the way you feel now will probably not be permanent. Knowing that there is an end in sight can help you get through a difficult time.

Don't do it alone. Although your tendency may be to isolate, don't. Force yourself to reach out and get with people who care about you. Just share the truth: You aren't feeling great but didn't want to be by yourself. There is nothing shameful about telling the truth.

Give of yourself. Look around you and notice what others are really feeling. You probably aren't the only one feeling low. When you spot someone, give a warm smile and try to strike up a conversation. Listen attentively to their response.

Acknowledge your courage. Reflect on how you have been there for yourself and other people in the last few years and how you have been able to get through some tough times. Most likely, you didn't do this alone, but received support.

Do things that are pleasurable. Put yourself in "intensive self-care." Take a warm bath, go to a park and sit under a big tree, listen to your favorite music, cook a simple meal. Do a few things each day, just for you.

Of course, be open to connecting with a counselor or therapist for additional help.

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