ROCHESTER, Minn., Dec. 24 (UPI) -- If it's not a holly, jolly Christmas for you, a U.S. stress management expert suggests being realistic and adapt to the situation.
Dr. Amit Sood, a Mayo Clinic physician and stress management expert, said the holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well.
"Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you is facing adversity or you can't be with loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season," Sood said. "If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship."
Sood also suggested to set aside differences and try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances to enjoy the holiday cheer, Sood said.
Make some time for yourself, Sood suggested. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, might refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm, Sood said.