#childsafety | Local counseling professionals offers tips for coping with holiday stressors

The holiday season can be a stressful time for anyone, between cooking, shopping or entertaining guests, and especially so for those celebrating the holidays for the first time since the death of a loved one. 

Local counseling professionals offer some practical tips that can help minimize the stress that can accompany the holidays. 

Kimberly Peters, a board-certified behavior analyst and former therapist, said acknowledging your feelings is the first step in dealing with any type of stress. 

“You should look on the bright side and you should be positive and find things to be happy about not at the expense of denying your feelings,” Peters said. “Don’t dwell on it and act like it didn’t happen.” 

Sharon Pleasant, a licensed professional counselor, said early planning is a good stress reliever going into the holiday season. 

“Have a plan even before the holidays come up so that you’re already being intentional on finding out different things you can do,” Pleasant said. “Finding out how you can be able to be successful the best way you can during the holiday season.” 

The holidays can be a joyous time, but can also come with a myriad of stress. Counselors with the ULM Counseling Center are available for virtual or phone appointments, which are free for students.

Jessica Williams, a Ruston-based licensed professional counselor, said self-care is important, regardless of what’s going on.

“One of my biggest (pieces of) advice that I’ve been talking to my clients about moving into the season is, regardless of how busy the calendar is, is that you are prioritizing time for yourself,” Williams said. “Prioritize time to do the things that you enjoy whether it’s exercising, taking a long bath, reading. A lot of times we’ll say, ‘I don’t have time for that’ but you have to make time for that. I always use the imagery of a watering can. If all you’re doing is pouring out, pouring out, pouring out, taking care of everyone else, cooking meals, wrapping gifts, decorating, attending Christmas parties but if you’re not taking time to refill that watering can, it’s just going to run empty and dry.”

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