Tips for Surviving the Holidays

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Dec 1st, 11
Here are some helpful tips for dealing with the Holidays.

“Ho, Ho, Arghhhhh: Tips for Surviving the Holidays”
By Dr. Blake Jones
Access Wellness Group
 

Pepper spray?  Really?!?  I shook my head as I read about the woman who pepper sprayed fellow shoppers in order to get a bargain more quickly on Black Friday.  Holidays are filled with joy, days off of work, great food…. and stress.  Many of my clients at Access Wellness Group report an increase in stress-related symptoms around the holidays, so here are some practical tips to help you survive:

Just say “No”:  My wife and I were recently looking at our calendar for December, and she remarked wryly, “So when do we sleep?”  The holidays are typically packed with school performances, Christmas parties, and a myriad of other things that take our time and energy.  Learn how to say “no” to things you don’t really want to do, or which will make you feel over-extended or negatively impact your family.

Find “Pockets of Wellness” in your Day:  I work with many of my clients to develop “wellness plans” which may include things like exercising, journaling, meditation and prayer, or going to watch a movie.  Even though the holidays are busy, this is no time to neglect your physical, mental, or spiritual health.  Find something each day that you can do—even for a little while—that will center and rejuvenate you.

Do something for someone else: One of my favorite holiday traditions is to go with my sons and my dad to the nursing home and play music for the residents.  My mom started this practice when I was a young boy, and her influence about serving others has had a profound impact on my life.  Christmas has gotten hijacked by a society that preaches consumerism, and we are made to believe that “those with the most toys wins.”  Take some time to help those around you who are in need.  Volunteer at a homeless shelter or the Salvation Army.  Make dinner for a neighbor who has lost a job.  Offer to babysit a young couple’s child so they can go on a date.  Giving is a great thing to do year round!

Expect Imperfection from your Family:  One of my friends told me the story of overhearing her young son talking to his buddy.  He shook his head and said, “It ain’t Christmas around here unless somebody’s crying….”  Let’s face it, none of us has a perfect family.  And the stress of the holidays brings out the best AND worst tendencies of most people.  Don’t be under the illusion that you can have the “perfect” family gathering.  Try to put it all in perspective and understand that, for example, years of strained relationships with an adult sibling cannot magically disappear in a few days.

These are just a few practical tips to help get you through the holidays.  Don’t forget that Access Wellness Group has a number of skilled counselors who are there for you.  Call us for more information at (859) 309-0309.  Happy Holidays!

 

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