Six Tips To Beat the Holiday Blues!
The Holidays are upon us again and all around us are the indelible signs of the festive, Christmas season. Whether it’s the smiley face in the Walmart commercials or the church Christmas Party, its tough to escape the Holiday spirit…or, is it the Blues?
What Are the Holiday Blues?
Although they want to be extremely happy, many people find the Holiday season to be difficult to manage. Some report that the fear of seeing relatives, friends or family that produced childhood stress or trauma in their lives makes the Holiday season difficult to bear. Others report that it’s simply the hustle and bustle of the season that overwhelms them. However, my experience is that the following five items are often more likely to be experienced and at the top of the list:
1) Money problems
2) Marital Stress
3) Time Management Dilemmas
4) Family/children Stress
5) Fears of increased debt
Thus the Holiday Blues are often in reality fear of not being able to meet the expectations of what the media, merchandisers, movies, or our family portray the Christmas season to be. In fact, you may have heard some or all of the following in your life:
On Money: “We need $500 more dollars to buy presents for your extended family. Can’t we just put in on the credit card?”
On Marriage: “We can’t disappoint my parents. You’re just going to have to work extra hours in January to cover my mom’s present, she can’t go without!”
On Time: “Look, your going to the Jazz game isn’t nearly as important as attending the party at the church. You choose, or…I’ll choose ‘correctly’ for you!”
On Children: “But mom, Santa just has to bring me the Xbox and the new Iphone 6. If I don’t get those, my friends will think I’m lame and a wimp!”
On Debt: “Heather, how can we borrow money again this year for the kids’ presents? We’re still paying off the credit card from last year! I’m not budging on this one…we’ll just have to say ‘no’ to your parents this year. Sorry sweetie!”
Beating the Holiday Blues — Six Tips!
Surviving if not thriving during the Christmas season has much more to do with remaining balanced in our lives than it does with being the Magna or Tooele version of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Although balance may seem like a swear word to many, achieving balance is actually a great gauge to where you’re at in life as well. Check out these tips…they really work!
Tip #1) Set Limits on Spending! You’ve already purchased many gifts for this Christmas and are probably feeling the pinch to spend more on your favorite Uncle or Aunt that you see but once per year. Don’t do it! Picture yourself opening the Visa or MasterCard bill in January to ‘sticker shock.’ If that doesn’t do it…check in with a trusted friend that help you set much better and rock-solid boundaries regarding money this Christmas season.
#2) Set Limits on Sleep! And I don’t mean setting limits on how LITTLE you sleep this season. I mean to actually set positive limits on how much you actually do sleep. Research would suggest that 7 – 8 hours each night are awesome for a healthy adult. If you need to be up by 6 AM, simply count backwards 7.5 hours to 10:30 PM and retire religiously at that time. Try it…it really does work!
#3) Set Limits on Eating! Uh Oh, gotcha! Do you find yourself overeating over the Holiday season? Are you a stress or comfort eater that finds herself at the pantry looking for donuts or my favorite, dark chocolate way too often? If so, set limits NOW before the parties begin at your local church, in your neighborhood, or the Christmas Party at grandma’s house.
#4) Set Limits on Exercise! If you already walk, bike, do yoga or hit the gym, great. Keep it up! If not, why not begin an exercise program to ramp up the Holiday season? Start slowly and gradually ramp it up. There are many great programs that can help and the Magna In Motion Facebook page is a great place to start. Follow this link for details. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Magna-In-Motion/712078578860958?fref=ts
#5) Set Limits On Your Relationships! This may sound a bit corny to list on a blog about Beating the Holiday Blues. Unfortunately, many people seem to push aside the most important people in their lives during the Christmas season. For example, do you find yourself dating your husband or wife less in December and January? Do you have thoughts that “I’m too busy now…he’ll understand that I’m (too busy, too stressed, too tired) for him right now?” If so, you’re not alone. Make a conscious effort to put the most important people, the way cool people in your life…high on the list. Don’t let Walmart, Target or Amazon. com trump your relationships!
Tip #6) Set Limits on You! Absolutely set a goal to not allow the Holidays to trump YOU this year, i.e, your self care! I blogged on this subject just last year too! Follow this link. http://englandcounseling.org/the-holiday-season-why-its-not-always-hollyjolly/ Making a concerted effort to get out and enjoy the things that move you emotionally, spiritually and physically just makes sense. Go for a drive to watch a sunset. Go for a drive and see the valley above the inversion. Take in a movie with your honey (Mocking Jay and Interstellar are great!). Simply make time for the the most important person in your life…and no, that’s not your kids!
Enjoy This Christmas Season!
Enjoying the Christmas and Holiday season in Magna, Tooele and Salt Lake City doesn’t have to be a pain…emotional or otherwise. In fact, it can be nearly as joyful as the commercials and media depict it to be. Setting boundaries in your life, even over Christmas, makes a strong statement to you and others around you that you’re important and deserve a happy and fulfilling life. Why not begin that journey immediately. You have my permission…just do so!!!
Relationship and Marriage Expert Michael Boman, LCSW is the Clinical Director at England Counseling Services and LifeSTAR Oquirrh. I can be reached for comment or suggestions at [email protected] I welcome your ideas and insight on subjects related to marriage, family and life in general. Need a Speaker on this subject? Call me! Happy Holidays!