CINCINNATI - For Mason resident Gail Varner and her 16-year-old daughter, getting out and being less into the Thanksgiving tradition has helped ease holiday stress.
"Every year for Thanksgiving we spend all of our time in some fun city shopping, going to the local shows, going out to nice restaurants, taking friends with us like Kayla," Varner said.
This year, they are going to Chicago.
"It's obviously expensive, but it's worth it," she said.
Unfortunately, everyone can't spend Thanksgiving in Chicago.
Mentally preparing for the holidays requires dealing with millions of people on the roads and in the air, seeing family we have not seen in a long time and our facing financial struggles. According to AAA, 39.1 million people are expected to take to the roads this Thanksgiving.
"I save up some money and work as much as I can," Mason resident Kyle Wolf said.
Norwood resident Amanda Hudson said there is not much you can do when you are traveling two and a half hours to see family with a 3-year-old in the back seat.
"Not only are they wanting to stop, they're wanting to get out of their car seat," Hudson said.
Social Work Director at University Hospital Janie Mynatt said everyone should embrace the realities.
"Not set false expectations for themselves," Mynatt said. "Get plenty of rest, take care of oneself, get a full eight hours of sleep."
Plus, she said everyone needs to be in touch with evolving relationships.
"When we start growing apart from family members and we're separated, the relationship changes, that creates stress for individuals," Mynatt said.
A different approach altogether solved these issues for Varner.
"When I look back on Thanksgiving now, I have really good and positive memories, I really don't have the memories of being annoyed by relatives, cleaning the house or cooking," Varner said.
If you still feel like you can't cope with the holidays and need to talk to someone, you can call University Hospital's Mobile Crisis team for help. The team's number is (513) 584-8577.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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