Holiday Overload

Holiday Overload.  Preventing Holiday overload is something we want to put in place as Thanksgiving is next week and before you know it Christmas and New Year’s and everything that comes with the Holidays will hit us just like it does every year.  For most this time of year is filled with fun and excitement.  For others, it’s a time  of loneliness and depression, days filled with obligation, guilt, and doing things you really don’t want to do.  Part of what happens during the holiday season is our mood changes and anxiety occurs because of the stress of overdoing it.  Overdrinking, overeating, and fatigue causes it. The demands of the season are many: shopping, cooking, travel, house guests, family reunions, office parties, shopping and extra financial burdens.

Man in Santa Claus hat loooking depressed about his finances

Here are 10 Tips I use to get through the holiday season:
1. Develop a reasonable schedule. Don’t overbook yourself into a state of exhaustion–this makes people cranky, irritable, and depressed.
2. Prioritize and Organize your time.
3. Remember, no matter what your plans, the holidays do not automatically take away feelings of aloneness, sadness, frustration, anger, and. fear.
4. Be careful about resentments from past holidays. Declare an amnesty with whichever family member or friend you are feeling past resentments.
5. Don’t expect the holidays to be just as they were when you were a child. They NEVER are. You’re not the same as when you were a child, and no one else in the family is either.
6. Don’t have any plans for the Holidays? Volunteer to serve holiday dinner at a homeless shelter. Work with any number of groups that help underprivileged or hospitalized children at the holidays. There are many opportunities for doing community service. No one can be depressed when they are doing community service.
7. Plan unstructured, low-cost fun holiday activities: window-shop and look at the holiday decorations. Look at people’s Christmas lighting on their homes, take a trip to the mountains, etc.–the opportunities are endless.
8. If you drink, do not let the holidays become a reason for over-indulging and hangovers. This will exacerbate your depression and anxiety. Contrary to popular opinion, alcohol is a depressant.
9. Give yourself a break; create time for yourself to do the things YOU love and need to do for your physical and mental wellness: aerobic exercise, yoga, massage, taking long fast walks or any activity that calms you down and gives you a better perspective on what is important in your life. Laugh a lot.
10. If the Holiday Blues become overwhelming and affects your normal level of functioning seeking a Therapist is always the right thing to do.
Please let me know if I can be of help.  Call me at (858) 735-1139  Happy Holidays

How Couples Can Survive The Holidays

How Couples Can Survive The Holidays.  Have you ever said……”I wish we could just go away for the Holidays? ”

How Couples Can Survive The Holidays

Thanksgiving. The official start of the Holiday Season is now over. Most couples dread the Holidays as they are expected to spend time with in-laws and other extended family members.  Even when you have healthy family relations and communication is good certain people can still get under your skin.  It’s these “certain” people that can negatively affect your relationship as the Holidays are already a high time for anxiety.

In Marriage Counseling it is recommended to put boundaries in place and set good limits so that individual and relationship needs are met by you and your spouse and your respective families. As a Couples Counselor I stress the importance of being cognizant of knowing when to say YES and when to say NO to extended family members so that the couples ensures their immediate family needs are met. I understand your respective Families of Origins want access to you and yours but sometimes doing something different can be as beneficial as doing whatever it is you typically do.

A couple of years ago my husband and I went to Little Palm Island in Florida for Thanksgiving weekend. For the past 25 years my sister and I traded off hosting either Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve/Day Dinner for the family. As wonderful as that is it became a little routine for me and the responsibility was becoming burdensome. I wanted to do something different. Of course, I got flack from my parents and in-laws as they are from the older generation but I explained to them that I needed time with my husband and that the traditions were going to be altered for that year. Yes, there was some guilt feelings on my part for awhile, but it didn’t last too long when I was basking in the Florida sun on a private island having even met Christian Slater vacationing at the resort, as well.

It was a well deserved getaway for my husband and me and helped rejuvenate our relationship. Another year we took a “staycation” here at the Hotel Del with our youngest daughter and enjoyed what our own City had to offer during Christmas Dinner. Enjoying the season and your family without the undue stress certainly makes a huge difference. I highly recommend it. This year I want to host for the Holidays as I enjoy that too.

Doing what you really don’t want to do during this particular time of year can be very stressful for couples and can make the difference between having a great Holiday Season or just another holiday season….it’s always a choice.  Call me at (858) 735-1139 if you need help making the right choice for you and yours.