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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Hazards of Holiday: Too Much Turkey - and Family?

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014   

RALEIGH, N.C. - While the holidays are a happy time for many, the stress associated with family obligations and dynamics can be a "lump of coal" in the Christmas stockings for some.

According to the American Psychological Association, fatigue and stress are the top sources of negative feelings during the holidays.

Lisa Ferentz, a clinical social worker and psychotherapist, says sometimes the best thing to do is simply not participate in a potentially stressful situation.

"Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to avoid family interactions that you know are going to be too painful, or that will set you up to be 'triggered' in some way," she says.

If you do feel compelled to see family or friends who can be a source of conflict, Ferentz recommends you limit the time you spend, bring a friend to act as a buffer, and use a cellphone as an excuse for a break.

According to Ferentz, sometimes the best relief is to break away from habits from the past by beginning a new tradition, or doing something for others.

"I encourage people to volunteer during this time of year," she says. "I think when you do things that kind of help you step outside of yourself and your own emotional upset, it gives you perspective about life. It also helps you reclaim a feeling of gratitude."

Ferentz says it's important to avoid self-destructive behaviors such as overeating or drinking too much. She recommends replacing them with exercise or meditation.


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