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Holidays: Agony or Adventure

Why do the holidays make people crazy?  Maybe it has to do with cramming in more activities in one month than you would do in a year or maybe it’s related to getting out of our routine.  I find in my practice that the holidays triggers a ton of emotion, either related to unresolved issues, loss, family conflicts/dysfunction, and loneliness.  The holidays are a stressful time for everyone with the added financial stress, unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves and others, along with increased family time with people we only see once a year.  What stresses you out about the holidays?  Have you acquired any good coping skills to deal with the added stress?  I encourage patients to approach this time of the year as an adventure by maintaining good boundaries and being able to say no.  It also helps to maintain your daily schedule which includes exercise, proper rest and a healthy diet.  Many of us seem to use the holidays as a time to binge on food, alcohol, spending, etc. which often leads to guilt and plenty of New Years resolutions.  We can avoid this pattern by practicing moderation in all aspects of life.  This season may be a good time to work through emotional issues through writing or sharing and consider counseling if you’re unable to resolve these emotions on your own.  The holidays can also be a time to reconnect with old friends, heal old wounds, and cherish healthy relationships and connection to people you love.  And always remember George Carlin’s quote: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

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