Couples Surviving The Holiday Blues

Couples Surviving The Holiday Blues.  What To Do For Those Holiday Blues.  We just got done with Thanksgiving and Christmas is just around the corner. Before you know it we’ll be ringing in the New Year.  Depending on how you weathered through Thanksgiving, Christmas may or may not be something to look forward to.  For most people, this time of year is filled with fun and excitement and for others, it’s a time of loneliness and depression, filled with days of obligation, guilt, and doing things you really don’t want to do.  Part of what happens during the holiday season is we undergo challenges with situations that create a range of emotions due to various stressors.  Overdrinking, overeating, and fatigue may also cause it. The demands of the season include shopping, cooking, travel, house guests, family get-togethers, office parties, more shopping, and extra financial burden.   Then there is isolation when your support system is limited.

As a Marriage Counselor in Couples Counseling, I help individuals and couples get perspective on how to manage these stressors and how to cope with the overload.  By implementing some of the following tips the Holiday Blues can be managed in ways that can keep you sane. 

1. Be reasonable with your 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 being alone, 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 making other people happy.
7. Plan unstructured, low-cost fun holiday activities: window-shop and look at holiday decorations. Look at people’s Christmas lighting on their homes, take a trip to the mountains, etc.
8. If you drink, do not let the holidays become a reason for over-indulging with hangovers. This will exacerbate your depression and anxiety. Contrary to popular opinion, alcohol is a depressant.
9. Give yourself a break and 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.
10. If the Holiday Blues become overwhelming and affect your normal level of functioning seeking counseling with a
Therapist is always a good thing to do.
Please let me know if I can be of help.  Call me at (858) 735-1139  Happy Holidays

Preventing The Holiday Blues

Preventing The Holiday Blues.  Thanksgiving is next week and then Christmas and New Year’s.  For most, this time of year is filled with fun and excitement.  For others, it’s a time of loneliness and depression, and days filled with obligation, guilt, and doing things you really don’t want to do.  Part of what happens in the holiday season, in terms of mood changes and anxiety, occurs because of the stressfulness of holiday events. Overdrinking, overeating, and fatigue may also cause it. The demands of the season are many: shopping, cooking, travel, houseguests, family reunions, office parties, more shopping, and extra financial burden. Plus our economy may exacerbate many of us who are already stressed out or depressed.

10 Tips to get through the holiday season to prevent problems and misery for yourself and your loved ones.
1. Be reasonable with your 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.
10. If the Holiday Blues become overwhelming and affect your normal level of functioning seeking counseling with 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

 

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

Holidays Minus The Family Drama

Holidays Minus The Family Drama.  I don’t know about you but I’m not that fond of the Holidays as much as some people are.  The so called fun and excitement wrapped up in Holiday Cheer is not what it’s cracked up to be.  As a Marriage and Family Therapist I know for some, 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 we have more mood changes and anxiety.   This occurs because of the stress we put on ourselves to make sure the Holidays meet the expectations of others.  Overdrinking, overeating and fatigue can cause it. The demands of the season are many: shopping, cooking, travel, houseguests, family reunions, office parties, more shopping and the extra financial burden.

holidays

 (Photo: MARK SELIGER PARAMOUNT PICTURES)
The cast of Home for the Holidays – Dylan McDermott, top left, Robert Downey, Jr., Cynthia Stevenson, Geraldine Chaplin, Charles Durning, seated left, Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft, and kids Emily Ann Lloyd, left, and Zachar

But the most stressful is having to manage your emotions when in the company of challenging family members who don’t exercise appropriate behavior.  The nagging aunt, the annoying mother-in-law, the rude cousin/brother/sister, etc.  Whether it’s Thanksgiving Dinner or the Christmas Eve gift exchange event you know exactly who those people are.

Tips to get through the obligatory Family Get-Together:

1 – First of all you don’t need anyone’s permission to say NO, I’m not going.

2 – Be careful about resentments from past holidays.  – Declare an amnesty with whichever family member you are feeling past resentments toward.

3 – Avoid the person that bugs you. – Be gracious with a greeting then stay the heck away from them.  Don’t even establish eye contact afterwards.

4 – Develop and utilize coping skills when you are triggered. –  You can excuse yourself, take a walk, do deep breathing, go to the bathroom for a time out, remind yourself to stay in the here-and-now, stretch arms over your head to release tension, leave at a set time, etc.

5 – If you drink, don’t let the occasion become a reason for over-indulging to cope. This will exacerbate your depression and anxiety, as well as disable your ability to utilize your coping skills. Contrary to popular opinion, alcohol is a depressant.

6 – To offset that day 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.

If you are experiencing the Holiday Blues for whatever reason as life is feeling overwhelming, seeking help from a Marriage and Family Therapist for Counseling can help you get some traction for normalizing what is yet to come.  Attending family obligations are sometimes necessary to show the ones we love we care about them.  Just take care of yourself while you’re in their company.
Please let me know if I can be of help.  Call me at (858) 735-1139  Happy Holidays.