Do these 6 holiday stress hurdles sound familiar? Here's how you can avoid them.

Many people say the holidays are the happiest time of year. (And they should be!) But for others, the season is also the most stressful time of the year.

Whether you’re dealing with family, time, or money issues — or all three — it can get very overwhelming very quickly.

Luckily, Hallmark has some simple, effective tips on how to spread smiles, not stress, over the holidays. Check out some of their suggestions to show you #CareEnough this time of year:


Holidays have you stressed? Here are some helpful tips on caring for yourself and others. #CareEnough

Posted by Upworthy on Saturday, December 17, 2016

Where does all that holiday stress come from in the first place? And what exactly can we do about it?

Sometimes, a little outside perspective is just what the doctor ordered. We enlisted the help of Dr. Sharon Kelly, a clinical psychologist, and Dena Patton, a certified life and business coach, to break down what causes holiday stress, what we can do to manage it, and how to keep the spirit of the season strong.

Here are six different hurdles that many people find themselves facing:

1. Feuding with the family.

Where it comes from: “I think most people that I see, there’s some family triggers, family history, family dynamics, interpersonal conflicts. That creates a lot of anxiety for people,” says Kelly. There's no doubt that our disagreements and attitudes towards family can get in the way of the celebration. And the more we hold on to them, the more we allow them to reach a boiling point.

What you can do: It all starts with you. “Choose to bring joy, not stress, to the party,” Patton writes in an email.

“The opportunity is in your hands,” adds Kelly. “You change the meaning that you attach to [the holidays], you change your response to it, you change your intention for the day. If you know that a certain person is going to really get under your skin, how do you go into that situation?”

2. Money, money, money! (For gifts, gifts, gifts.)

Where it comes from: “There’s all this anxiety around what to get people,” says Kelly. “Is this the right gift? Are they going to like this? Is this going to show how I feel about them?" When that stress hits, some people think an expensive gift will do the trick. Kelly adds, "They actually spend more even if it’s not something that you want.”

What you can do: “Have a budget and stick to it,” writes Patton. “Do not go into debt out of feeling obligated.” When it comes down to it, simply being prepared and knowing ahead of time how you’re going to plan your attack will ease all your emotions.

3. Holiday party obligations piling up.

Where it comes from: First off, there can be too many parties this time of year. And second, many times, these parties become more about impressing others and less about the actual gathering. “I know people that have these big, beautiful parties because they’re really good at it,” says Kelly. “But it’s, like, way over the top, and they have all this anxiety, no one appreciates it.”

What you can do: If throwing or going to a big party brings you joy, go for it! Just remember to do it for the right reason. “Pick your battles here,” writes Patton. “Practice your boundaries and don't say yes to every party. Make this year the [one] you are doing things that really bring you joy and cut out the things that bring you stress.”

4. HUGE crowds and looooong lines.

Where it comes from: The stress that long lines bring boils down to one simple idea: waiting until the last minute. Holiday crowds and shopping are a totally different animal, and remembering that will save you so much time in the long run.

What you can do: “Shop online or go shopping in off peak hours when crowds aren't present,” writes Patton. “Planning ahead in this area really helps.” Plus, the beauty of the modern world is that we can do all the holiday shopping we need without ever leaving the house.

5. All that food around you!

Where it comes from: If you’re cooking the food, it’s pretty easy to see how all the stress can creep in. As the number of diners rises, so does the pressure to get things right. If you’re just eating, though, try not to overdo it. All that indulgence and excess may come back to stress you out later on.

What you can do: “Have a plan and work the plan!” writes Patton. “If the plan is to indulge, then go for it, but if you promised yourself not to gain 10 pounds then never go to a party hungry.”

6. More-than-full to-do lists.

Where it comes from: “The bottom line is that we are busy — actually we are over-scheduled!” writes Patton. “We pile on more things to our schedule, our money and our emotional state and we go into overload.”

What you can do: If you're feeling overwhelmed, Kelly has a simple suggestion. "I would have them just step back in a quiet moment on their own," she says. "Really think about if they were really happy and [if] they really were going to enjoy the season ... how would they design it? What choices would they make?"

Whichever combination of hurdles apply to you, address the stress by taking a breath, planning ahead, and really thinking about what the holiday spirit means for you.

Ultimately, if we understand what brings us joy and make a conscious effort to really pay attention to that, then good things will follow. In fact, take a breather once in a while if you need to. If there's one S-word that should describe the holidays. It's special — not stress.

"Remember that this season isn't about gifts, stress, or social media," notes Patton. "It's about faith, family and making memories. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the busy-ness that we forget what really matters."

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Truth

Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign. We don't do PSAs. We also need to update so to explain truth – the nonprofit behind the truth youth smoking prevention campaign – you could also say this in a funny way – best known for sharing the facts about smoking and vaping or pull from some old campaigns. Just layer in a description of truth and who the campaign is., is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

The dangerous stuff is already out there, but with knowledge on their side, young people will hopefully make the right choices and fight companies making the wrong ones. If you need more convincing, here are the serious facts.

Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Kinard, a former frequent e-cigarette-user, is one of the many teens who experienced severe side effects. "Vaping was my biggest addiction," he told NowThis. "It lasted for about 15 months of my high school career." In 2018, Kinard was hospitalized after having a seizure. He also had severe nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

After the harrowing experience, he quit vaping, and began speaking out about his experience to help inform others and hopefully inspire them to quit and/or take action. "It shouldn't take having a seizure as a result of nicotine addiction like I had for teens to realize that these companies are taking advantage of what we don't know," Kinard said.

Teens are 16 times more likely to use e-cigarettes than adults, and four times more likely to take up traditional smoking as a result, according to truth, and yet the e-cigarette market remains virtually unregulated and untested. In fact, companies like JUUL continue to block and prevent FDA regulations, investing more than $1 million in lawyers and lobbying efforts in the last quarter alone.

Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

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The problem: The list included 99 men and one woman. For those not so good with the math, that means according to Forbes, only 1% of the country's most innovative leaders are female.

Have you ever watched a movie that's so abysmally bad that you wonder how it ever even got made? Where you think, "Hundreds and hundreds of people had to have been directly involved in the production of this film. Did any of them ever think to say, 'Hey, maybe we should just scrap this idea altogether?"

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