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How to Find Cheer in Holiday Stress

Lara Schuster EfflandLara Schuster Effland, LCSW, Vice President of Clinical Operations at Eating Recovery Center's Insight Behavioral Health Centers discusses tips on maintaining mental health and calm during the holiday season for ADAA.

The air is getting crisp and the days are getting short. The early days of fall and those first holiday-shopping commercials are the initial signs of excitement and splendor to come, as well as more to-do lists, deadlines, and social pressures.

But you can learn how to maintain your mental health and keep content during the holiday season. Read on for one interesting example. When the winter sun in Norway doesn’t rise above the horizon, the days are short and dimly lit. So the Norwegians take the opportunity to create koselig, or a cozy way of living. This tradition means getting under a blanket with a cup of tea and enjoying your time with family and friends peacefully. And koselig must be working: Norwegians have astonishingly low rates of seasonal affective disorder and depression rate during the winter.

Factors: Protective and Vulnerability

When you approach the months of holiday stress and cheer, it’s helpful to consider two factors that may affect your mindset. Protective factors are the things you have going for you that build strength and resilience. Vulnerability factors are things that can hinder your ability to cope, and they can be internal and external. The Norwegians are able to create protective factors by appreciating the longer time with others in circumstances we might think of as less than ideal. They turn potential vulnerability factors, such as colder weather and darker days, into protective factors by embracing them and transforming them into moments of comfort and fond memories. Read the full article.

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