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A dose of inspiration

"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." - Carl Bard

"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something that we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. " - Frederick Keonig

"Stress is the trash of modern life- we all generate it but if you don't dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life." -Terri Guillemets

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Rollercoaster Otherwise Known as "The Holiday Season"

For some, the holidays are filled with happy and excited anticipation of gift giving and receiving, cooking and baking, parties, visiting with family and friends, singing songs, drinking and eating, and traveling to far-off destinations. For others, the thought of one or all of these activities can be anxiety-producing and fear-inducing to the point that their stress level skyrockets. Why would anyone fear the holidays? Well for starters, think about the financial situation that many are in right now. The thought of having to buy multiple gifts when they can barely pay their bills is enough to send some into a panic attack. If a fear of flying is involved, thinking about boarding a plane that is filled to capacity can cause someone to avoid making the trip altogether. Then there are the issues of being faced with tons of food during the Thanksgiving feast or other holiday dinner that can be quite stressful for those who may already be uncomfortable with their weight or just like to be health-conscious. Likewise, drinking alcohol is common for adults during the holidays and may pose problems for those who have trouble controlling their alcohol consumption or are admittedly alcoholics.

The holidays do not need to be a highly stressful time of year with some planning ahead and preparation. Sometimes the preparation involves doing certain things, such as taking away the need to spend a lot of money on gifts, and sometimes the preparation is within yourself- changing your own mindset so that you do not set yourself up for disaster and stress at this time of year. If you are dealing with the stress of feeling that you do not have enough money to shower your family and friends with gifts, try using some creativity this year. Most people love gifts from the heart that are personal and original. Dig deep inside yourself to discover the talents that you can share with others. For example, make a c.d. with their favorite songs; take a beautiful photograph and have it printed out and frame it; bake them something delicious; help them set-up a website or learn how to use a new gadget; or better yet, spend real, QUALITY time together, and that will be the best gift you could give. Turn off the phone, move the computer away, and give them your full attention while doing a fun activity together.

If the issue that you're struggling with is a fear of flying, work ahead of time on learning breathing exercises and meditation that can help to ease your anxiety during that time. If you're stressed about eating too much during the holidays, get yourself in shape ahead of time and practice saying "No thank you" so that you are able to set your own limits. If drinking is what has you worried about attending holiday events, similar to the issue of eating too much food, simply being able to decline offers for alcohol and taking something non-alcoholic can be enough, but if this is a serious problem for you, you may want to consider speaking to a professional about this.
Sometimes, all we need to do to feel better about a situation is to talk to ourselves. No, I don't mean walking around having full conversations with yourself in public, outloud, and scaring the kids. What I mean is putting things into perspective for yourself. If you're stressed about having to spend a lot of time with family, for example, make a list of things that you are grateful for. Outline the reasons why you are lucky this holiday season. Here is a sample list of thoughts you can think to yourself or write down to turn negative feelings into positives:
  • I am lucky to be able to spend this time with family.

  • I am fortunate to have these family members to visit.

  • I am healthy and take care of myself, so I am going to let myself enjoy the food and desserts.

  • I am not going to get upset over old family issues because this is a time of appreciation and to be thankful.

  • I am going to have patience while traveling and spending time with family, or making my way through crowds.

  • I am grateful that I am able to taste all the wonderful flavors and enjoy my food.

  • I am grateful that I am surrounded by people who care about me.

  • I am going to take the opportunity to express my appreciation and gratitude for others.

These are just a few examples of situations that may be stressful for some people during the holiday season. If you find that you are feeling highly depressed or anxious about any of these scenarios, you may want to consider speaking to a professional so that you are able to enjoy the upcoming holidays and nip those stressors in the bud. If you're in the San Diego area, I would be happy to set up a free consultation with you to see if there is something I can help you with to get you off of that rollercoaster and able to enjoy these times to the fullest!

How are you feeling about the upcoming holidays?

Make the end of the year a great one!


  1. I love the part about gifts from the heart.

    Last year the family went a little "commercial" happy so this year we are not only doing a Secret Santa (to limit the number of people) but all the gifts are also going to be handmade. At Halloween we each filled out a "My Favorites" type Q&A card to use during the Secret Santa drawings.

    Great blog Marni.

  2. Thanks Morgan! For some reason I didn't get any sort of notice that there was a comment here. Those sound like great ideas for the holidays! I love that you guys filled out a list of your favorites to give each other some ideas.