This is part one of a three part article by our Outpatient Therapy Director, Julie Feld, that includes tools to help you navigate common stressors.
Do More Than Survive This Holiday Season
“I’m surviving.” “I’m getting through,” these are comments I often hear this time of year when I ask how people are doing. I understand. The holidays can so easily be a stressor – expectations can be high, choosing the perfect gifts, preparing the food that everyone expects, decorating the home, putting on a happy smile, the stressors of change, the loss of people or relationships, the need to stop addictive behaviors, health conditions of yourself or others, etc. Of course, these things can feel overwhelming. Through all this may I suggest you choose an attitude of LIVING rather than just surviving through this Season.
Holiday stress comes in many forms – anxiety, depression, relationship discord, excessive behaviors (e.g., eating, drinking, shopping, gambling) are all examples of how we cope with these stressors. Although difficult, I hope you are able to focus yourself on living this holiday season as we try to live all our days – with thought, with commitment and with intention.
Easier said than done? Yes. Will you achieve your goal every day? No. Can you do it some days? Perhaps. Can you do it for minutes or hours at a time? Yes, you can. You may surprise yourself and others by being different this year. Perhaps you can do what I do and look to others for ideas and suggestions help me navigate through these days and weeks ahead.
Part I: Living Your Life with Thought
What are my values surrounding this time of year? Why are we celebrating? Most would agree it’s about celebrating peace, showing love and compassion to others. Then of course, what often happens is we lose all of this with the expectations we have of each other and ourselves. Here are some resources I recommend:
- Graham Hill suggests “making room for the good stuff” in our lives by having less in his TED Talk.
- In another TED Talk, Pico Lyer suggests that home is not necessarily where we are born but rather where we can be free to be ourselves.
- Attend a NAMI ((National Alliance on Mental Illness) meeting if you or a loved one lives with a mental illness.
NAMI Brown County (920) 430-7460
NAMI Fox Valley (920) 954-1550
- AA or Alanon is a great support to address changing the way to think if you or people in your life struggle with addiction issues.
Part II: Living Your Life with Commitment