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December 15, 2016

Surviving the Holiday Season

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Survival Tips for the Holiday Season

 

The holidays are here: that time of year that rushes by before our credit cards and calendars can catch their breath.

For many of us, these days don’t bring the cheer and nostalgia that they used to bring…or that we wish they would. They just remind us of what’s not here: the marriage that fell apart; the kids we aren’t with; the family member that’s gone.

While we may not be able to make the holidays what we want them to be, there are things we can do to make it just a little more manageable.

Consider some of these suggestions.

 

Drink less…or not at all. 

The advice to drink less may seem cliché or simplistic. For some, it isn’t as easy as the words “Just don’t drink.” But choosing to not drink around the holidays is not about sobriety. At least, not entirely.

Generally, drinking doesn’t help anything…and it may be making the holiday blues worse. Be honest. Does one drink lead to two and three more that all end up reminding you of those things you hate about this time of year? Do the drinks lead to loneliness? To regret?

If so…

For a few weeks, replace alcohol with something that won’t take you to a dark place. Replace it with walking your dog…or someone else’s dog. Replace it with Christmas movies or butternut squash soup. Replace it with something that makes your world a little more simple…and pleasant.

 

Set Yourself Up for a “Win”

Every morning that I wake up to see hot coffee waiting for me in the pot, I am immediately thankful to the last night version of myself…that version of me that made the decision to grind beans, fill water, and push that little timer button. You see…I never feel like making coffee, as silly and simple a task it may seem. I’m tempted every night to leave it for the morning. But then every morning, I’m glad. I can pour my coffee and get right to my day.

The point is this: If we’d start setting ourselves up for “wins,” we’d string together more positive days. We’d set ourselves up for something better. We’d start thanking ourselves for the last night versions of ourselves.

So…for the rest of December, do one thing a day that you’ve never regretted.

Exercise.

Go to church.

File the piling paperwork.

Buy an eggnog shake and go look at Christmas lights.

Those are just a few ideas.

 

Visit your grandpa…or a grandpa. 

Maybe your grandpa is gone or not someone you can visit. But somewhere out there is a grandpa worth talking to. There’s something about hearing stories from someone older…someone with history and the gift of gab. And there’s something about knowing you’re bringing joy to someone else. And there’s something about grandpas.

It may be tough…but it’s worth it. So plan the visit you normally wouldn’t plan. And show up prepared with some questions that will let grandpa talk.

 

Plan your Spending

Impulse is often the medicine of melancholy. When you’re feeling down or frustrated or at the end of your rope, do you tend to force something? Many people spend money.

But the relief that comes with spending isn’t actually making you healthier or happier. It’s just distracting you…and perpetuating regret.

So try this: Do nothing spontaneous with your finances…at least for a few days. Decide that your purchases will be planned. And stick to it!

When the urge to spontaneously spend comes, try some of the other suggestions we’ve discussed.

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So there it is. It’s not exhaustive. It’s not a magic formula. But it’s something to get you out of your routine and into something that keeps the holiday blues away.

 

May your days be merry and bright. And may all your Christmases be…better.

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