Tips for holiday survival

12/3/2013 - RAF MILDENHALL, England -- The winter holiday period, now until New Year's Day, is a wonderful time. Usually, people spend quality time with loved ones, celebrate traditions and enjoy being with each other.

Conversely, those who have recently joined the military or moved overseas may find the holidays a lonely time. If you will be spending the holidays away from family - immediate or extended - choose to do things and make the most of the holiday season! Some suggestions are as follows:

· Plan a trip. During this time take a trip or two (or more) to some exciting places. The trip does not have to be extensive -- day trips work well.
· Do some charity work. Helping others will make the season all the more meaningful -- for you and your family.
· Don't forget to call home. Make sure you call when you can have a quality conversation.
· Celebrate family traditions, even if away from loved ones. Watch "Miracle on 34th Street," decorate, and make your family's special food item, to name a few.
· Find a new family. This works if you are single or a family. Make plans to spend holidays with others. The experiences and memories will be all the better spent together.

Another thing to be aware of during the holidays is stress always seems to arrive during the holidays. It can be a difficult time for many because of stress, financial pressures (increased by additional expenses), disappointments, loss of a loved one, and being away from home. If you find yourself fighting the blues or are a person who usually gets giddy during the holidays, but just don't feel the same this year, here are some suggestions on surviving and thriving during this important time of the year:.

- If the holiday season is particularly difficult, then prepare for it by accepting the fact and reminding yourself; it is a season, it will soon pass.
- Get out and socialize -- it will make the season better.
- Make sure you exercise (maybe with others).
- Eating healthy is relative during the holidays, but to whatever extent you can, the better you will feel.
- Know your boundaries and communicate them when necessary. This will be very helpful in successfully getting through the holidays positively.
- Last, as suggested earlier, help others. Volunteer to help those less fortunate -- it will bless you more than those you serve!

Sometimes talking to someone helps too. If you would like to talk, chaplains are good listeners! I hope you have a wonderful and meaningful holiday season!