Here are tips for reducing holiday stress from licensed clinical social

worker and executive coach

Jackie Michel of Clinton, N.Y.

From licensed clinical social worker and executive coach Jackie Michel of Clinton, N.Y.

- Sit down and think about what matters most to you and your family.

- Think of creative ways to make the holiday meaningful without getting into commercialism or a lot of “shoulds.”

- Think of creative, inexpensive gifts, such as a thank-you letter, an ornament made by the kids, a book of coupons for things you’ll do or environmentally sensitive gifts such as bulbs or a seedling.

 - Find ways to simplify and still catch the spirit of the holidays. Don’t feel forced to do things you don’t enjoy.

- Give yourself permission to experience the longings and sadness of nostalgia, grief or loved ones who aren’t home. Share your feelings with others.

-Take some time to be quiet and mindful.

- Find ways to be of service, such as helping at a rescue mission, visiting a nursing home or donating food.

- Set priorities based on what’s important to you about the holidays. From licensed clinical social worker Lynn Tomaino of Utica, N.Y.

- Remember that no one has a perfect family. Try to focus on positive things.

- It is OK to say no. Do the things you enjoy.

- Visit people whose company you enjoy and limit time spent with others.

- If you’re going to be alone over the holidays, make plans, such as scheduling a vacation, taking part in community activities or visiting shut-ins.

- Decide how much money you can afford to spend on gifts and don’t spend more.

- Pace yourself with daily goals so you don’t leave everything to the last minute. Ask for help.

- Exercise to boost your mood and keep your weight down.

- Eat selectively, sampling small portions of foods you enjoy.

- Remember the spiritual meaning of the holidays. Express love more directly than with gifts.