Making your holidays merry… and low-stress

One guest everyone prefers not to see during the holidays is stress. Turn mayhem to merry with some practical coping tips.

“Start by accepting that the holidays don’t need to be perfect,” says psychiatrist Monica Dhingra, MD, Medical Director of the Ramapo Ridge Partial-hospitalization Program. “Traditions and rituals will change as families grow and change. Hold on to some traditions, but be open to creating new ones.”

If you have lost a loved one, it’s normal to feel sadness, especially during the holidays. Christian Health Care Center’s monthly Faith & Grief luncheon, open to people of all faiths, can provide support and strength through sharing, scripture, prayer, and reflection.

If the holidays make you feel lonely, seek opportunities to volunteer at a soup kitchen, charity event, or Christian Health Care Center. You’ll be giving back to the community, while potentially meeting new friends.

Keep your physical health in check. Before heading to a holiday gathering, have a healthy snack so you’ll be less likely to overindulge.

Create a schedule and a budget before the onset of the holiday season. Designate time and funds for shopping, baking, wrapping gifts, and holiday gatherings.

Most importantly, celebrate the real meaning of the season.

“Christmas is truly a joyous holiday,” says Rev. Jim Knol, LCSW, Pastoral Care Director. “Participate in services at your church. Listen to the Christmas scriptures. Sing Christmas hymns. You’ll feel better spiritually, mentally, and physically.”

For more information about mental-health services, Faith & Grief luncheons, or volunteering at Christian Health Care Center, call (201) 848-4463, email, or visit


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