How to have a happy holiday

    TORONTO, Nov. 30 /CNW/ - As the holiday crunch count down gets an
official start this weekend, Shepell.fgi is giving some simple tips to help
everyone through to the New Year.
    "Every year, it seems expectations and pressure we put on ourselves and
others grows," said Rod Phillips, Shepell.fgi's President and CEO. "But if you
know what your stress triggers are, you can take some simple steps to ensure
your holiday season is happy and healthy."

    Put a Stop to Great Expectations
    Are you giving Martha Stewart a run for her title as domestic goddess? Or
are you going to scream if you unwrap another pair of slipper socks?
    If even thinking about putting on the full turkey deal for the whole gang
is keeping you up at night, you may want to consider asking friends and family
to bring a favourite dish. Everyone contributes and gets to share in the meal.
    On the other hand, having set expectations can be equally stressful. No
one can read exactly what you have in mind, and if you have a need to control
the season's events you're setting yourself up for stress and anxiety. Letting
go is not only liberating, but you may have a better time.

    Keep from Compounding your Blues
    Cold weather and grey skies can be a recipe for winter blues. If you add
unhealthy rich food and a lack of exercise you'll just compound the effects.
Mixing in a large amount of alcohol and its depressant effects could explain
bleak feelings.
    Keeping to nutritious food and limiting alcohol will make you more
energetic and more likely to keep you your exercise program.
    Remember depression is a real illness - if you're particularly blue,
either call your Employee Assistance Program or your doctor for help.

    Validate your Life and your Loss
    The holidays have an "anniversary effect" and are often a trigger for
upsetting feelings if you've lost a loved one. If this is your first holiday
season without someone important in your life, you may have unexplained
feelings of anger or sadness. Realize that this is a normal part of the
grieving process and allow yourself to have these feelings.
    Even if this is not your first holiday season without your loved one,
feelings of grief can still surface and surprise you. Embrace these feelings,
because they are an expression of the love you still have for the person you
    Don't be shy - reach out to friends and family if you feel you need

    Credit Check
    Remember that no gift is worth running into unmanageable debt. Often we
lose track of our spending and put ourselves in financial strain the first few
months of the New Year.
    The best way to keep it in check is to make a list and stick to it. If
you find that you are overspending because you're picking up those impulse
items while you wait in the long checkout lines, avoid the mall at peak times.
Take off a Monday morning and get things done fast, or shop online.
    Don't shop on an empty stomach - we're more likely to overspend when
we're hungry or have low blood sugar.
    Trust that your friends and family would probably take the present back
in a heartbeat if they knew you went into debt to buy it.

    Give Something Back
    Many families contribute to their community at this time of year by
adopting a family in need for the season through local charitable
    "The holidays are a time for us to spend with friends and family, a time
to give love and to feel love," said Karen Seward, Senior Vice President of
Business Development and Marketing. "If you take the pressure off yourself and
others, you'll be able to enjoy the season."

    About Shepell-fgi

    Shepell-fgi is Canada's leading provider of workplace health services,
including prevention-focused Employee Assistance Programs. The company
services over six million employees and their families across Canada, the
United States and internationally. Shepell-fgi helps organizations maintain
healthy employees and healthy workplaces.

For further information:

For further information: Rosalind Robertson, PR and Events Manager,
Shepell-fgi,, (416) 558-3117, (416) 355-5424

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