ballsWith all its lights and sounds, it is truly a magical time. Yet, for many, the peace and joy associated with this season can be elusive and, according to the National Institute of Health, it is during this time of the year that many persons experience a high degree of depression.

In order for you not to become one of those persons, I want to remind you to open your “tool chest”, especially during these days.

First of all, take out the “intellectual” tools and use them daily. One of those would be the “don’t be perfect” tool. With the use of that tool, you will be telling yourself that the house, the festive meal, or the presents do not have to be perfect or better than last year. And, because no family is perfect, another intellectual tool is to accept other family members as they are, not plan to change them during these days, and set aside grievances that hopefully can be resolved at a more appropriate time.

And there are “behavioral” tools in that box which also need to be used. The “self-care” tools direct you to get your rest, to exercise, to not overindulge, to take time to appreciate the beauty of this season, to be thankful for the persons we have around you, and to be able to say “no” to over involvement in so many gatherings and activities that you may be asked to participate in.

The “financial” tool is one of sticking to a budget and not running up credit cards which will burden you throughout 2016.

If, despite all your efforts, you are finding yourself overwhelmed and off balance, know that we are here for you. If you have lost a family member during the year, for example, his/her space at the table is going to be empty, and the pain of loss during these holidays can be excruciating for those who remain.