Thursday, December 16, 2010

Coping During the Holidays

We all look forward to the Christmas holiday and many time have expectations on what they should look like. We have memories, images of media Christmas on commercials telling us how wonderful this season should be, magazines filled with happy families and beautiful gifts and holiday parties - everything looks so perfect. But reality is most people, especially during this time in our world, do not have the money to make it a "perfect" Christmas in terms of what society tells us what is "perfect", most people have some sort of crisis or at least disappointments going on in there lives so often our anticipation and excitement turns into feelings of depression and/or family disharmony.

Part of what happens in the holiday season, in terms of mood changes and anxiety, may occur because of the stressfulness of holiday events. It may also be caused by overeating, and fatigue. The demands of the season are many: shopping, cooking, and travel, house guests, family reunions, parties, office parties, and extra financial burden.

Sometimes people who are not generally depressed actually struggle with holiday depression. Symptoms can include headaches, insomnia, uneasiness, anxiety, sadness, intestinal problems, and unnecessary conflict with family and friends.

Here are some tools to get through the holiday season well as ways to prevent problems and misery for yourself and your loved ones:

1. Have an attitude of gratitude. Misery and gratitude cannot occupy the same space in our psychological house, and we have the power to choose between these emotional states. Keep it simple and keep in mind the "Reason for the Season" Christmas is a time of reflection of why we celebrate, it's about family and friends and just spending time together. Don't allow all the outside influences to affect your expectations of what this time of year "should" be like.

2. One golden rule to getting along with responsible for how you behave, You certainly have no control over how your relatives behave. The most important part of avoiding holiday stress with our families is for each of us to feel in control of our own behaviors, attitudes & feelings. If you know in your head and your heart that you've acted like the best parent, child, brother, sister, friend that you know how to be, you can walk away from any difficulty feeling good about yourself. Use Romans 12:8 as your guide. "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

3. If you're feeling depressed and lonely, volunteer with groups that help children, the homeless, or the aged and disabled at the holidays. There are many, many volunteer opportunities this time of year. No one can be depressed when they are helping others

4. Decide upon your priorities and stick to them. Organize your time. Be reasonable with your schedule. Do not overbook yourself into a state of exhaustion--this makes people cranky, irritable, and depressed.

5 Remember, no matter what your plans, the holidays do not automatically take away feelings of aloneness, sadness, frustration, anger, and fear. In fact many times it magnifies it - lower expectations and keep a positive mindset. Ask a friend to keep you accountable.

6. Plan unstructured, low-cost fun holiday activities: window-shop and look at the Holiday decorations. Look at people's Christmas lighting on their homes, , etc.--the opportunities are endless.

7. Do not let the holidays become a reason for over-indulging in food and drink and create unnecessary weight gain and fatigue . This will create depression and anxiety. Keep up with your exercise routine or start on.

8. Give yourself a break; create time for yourself to do the things YOU love to do.
If you keep only one thing in mind to combat the holiday blues, make it be to remember: The choice is always yours: The sky is partly sunny, and the glass is half full, if you want it to be that way. The "blues" confront all of us, particularly at holiday time. It may be caused by the memory of loss, feelings of disappointment, or just being run down from parties, overeating, and shopping. But for many of us, holiday depression can be a choice we, in effect, choose to make. If we choose not to make this choice, we can choose instead to focus on the partly sunny skies and revel in our gratitude for our bounty, health, hope, and our courage to face each day with hope and determination.

and this is our HOPE:
Luke 2:9-12
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. (10) And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. (11) For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (12) And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

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