Coping with holiday stress

Stress? Did somebody mention stress?

Thanksgiving is behind us and one month from today all of the excitement of Christmas will be past as well. Everyone will be thinking about New Year’s Eve. Will you drive to the Big Apple to watch the ball drop at Times Square or stay at home and watch it on TV? Or maybe you will be sound asleep as 2019 comes in. Or maybe partying with family and/or friends. For the time being, folks are recuperating from Black Friday shopping. They are checking their lists twice and figuring out their game plan for the rest of their gift lists.

S-T-R-E-S-S.

All of the cooking, baking, cookie and candy making and gift wrapping rests on the horizon. The festive parties … There is so much to do, in addition to the regular stress makers of daily living. Some people take it all in stride, loving every minute of everything they are doing. But others struggle through the holidays, dread the season, become irritable, impatient and sometimes, depressed.

For some it is always challenging to make it through the holidays because their memories of Christmas Past are painful or difficult. They may just want them to be done and over with.

For some, they are such a distance from family during the holidays. It may be that there have been a lot of issues to cope with all year. And no grief will be felt when they say goodbye to 2018.

And here is a reminder: When alcohol is added to the mix to chase away the problems, the depression, the problems and depression actually only get worse.

Some people like to hold onto family traditions. But you can choose how you want to celebrate your holidays. Often, when you jump in to help others through a volunteer effort, you find yourself uplifted. Have you ever heard that love has no value until you give it?

My mother used to say, “Count your blessings instead of your troubles. When you look around a little you can always find someone less fortunate than yourself.” Maybe your mother said something similar to you.

Go for a walk. There are still a few autumn leaves to kick around, and it looks like we may see more snow this winter. Go for a ride in a one-horse open sleigh. (That’s been on my Christmas wish list for a long time.) Build snow people with the children, laugh and enjoy the beauty of not just the season, but the beauty of life. It isn’t perfect. Nothing is perfect. Would we really want to live in a perfect world? There will always be problems. But take time to live, to laugh and to love. Change the negatives to positives. Make your lists and prioritize. Be realistic. The holidays are meant to celebrate life, not breathe a sigh of relief when the last box is packed away because it’s finally over. Simplify. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Finish up the holiday projects that are most important to you, and when it’s time for a break, do it.

But if you can’t get onto a positive foot, reach out to a helping hand to get to a better place. The sun will still rise tomorrow. Loved ones will still love you tomorrow. And everyone gets a new slate to start over again as many times as it takes to find your contented place. Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded, in part, by Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

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