The furthest thing from your mind when confronting stress is actually confronting it. Most of us want an escape from life’s problems. And who could blame you?

This season is supposed to be about love, peace, and harmony. But it’s probably about getting a parking spot at the mall, finding the “perfect” gift and trying not to let the news weigh us all down. It’s enough to make you wish for a holiday away from this holiday. A hammock by the sea perhaps?

I had a childhood friend who would always respond the same way when asked about an issue she was struggling with: “I don’t know. I don’t want to think about it.” It was a defense mechanism, her way of protecting herself from being overwhelmed. But how effective was it really? I’d guess as helpful as sweeping things under a rug. Not very. Eventually whatever we’re hiding comes back to hurt us if we don’t deal with it.

The good news is we don’t have to cope alone. This week our bloggers are dishing out tips to manage holiday stress as well as how to deal with, think about and understand the tragic shooting in Connecticut. Life is not perfect. This holiday is a testament to that. But there are ways we can not just survive it, but find our own way to enjoy it. And this should help.

10 Tips for Reducing Holiday Stress
(Parenting Tips) – Did you know holiday stress rivals that of moving, starting a new job or asking your boss for a raise? Here are several ways to not let the holidays get you down this year. Who knows? You may even enjoy it.

New Research Says Mindful-Multitasking Leads to More Focus and Calm
(Mindfulness & Psychotherapy) – This post says if you’re going to do it anyway, you might as well do it right. Read how mindfulness can make you a better multitasker.

Guided Mindfulness Meditation
(Channel N) – Need a break? Breathe easier in this 3-minute video, which will guide you from stress to ease with an exercise in mindfulness meditation.

Newtown Connecticut Shooting and Mental Health – Its Time To Talk
(Family Mental Health) – In the aftermath of the Connecticut shooting, this blogger explains why we need to give as much time and attention to mental illness and treatment as we have been giving to guns and school security.

Meditation Minute: Reflecting On The Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting
(Your Body, Your Mind) – There may not be an easy answer to coping with the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. But we may find a little peace, comfort and strength from these profound quotes.