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Holiday Stress

Holiday stress? You better believe it!!

With holidays around the corner, most of us find ourselves just trying to survive. Thanksgiving, Christmas – even if you celebrate nothing, you end up involved in the hype: shopping, parties, buying gifts, cooking, gift wrapping, writing, mailing or e-mailing cards, baking, planning and a whole lot of deadlines cause big holiday stress – not good for anyone with an addictive personality

When you're overloaded by being too busy, you can easily sabotage yourself with alcohol, food, or whatever you do to take the edge off -- even simple, fun, family gatherings can take its toll. Everything – even the little things add up.

Holiday stress plays in the brain. There can be an impending trip home to see friends and family -- great in theory, but in reality maybe not

Stress doesn’t have to ruin the holidays or sabotage you.

So that being said, here are some ideas for dealing with stress over the holidays:

1) Don’t over-do-it -- shopping, eating, drinking during the season -- this is a season of excess, so stay balanced.

2) Make a plan. Make a budget. Set things up and stick to it. You know how easy it is to go out of control, so have back-up.

Here’s some logic to think about -- You’ll probably consume a lot of coffee, alcohol and goodies during the holiday period. This increases your blood pressure and your stress hormone levels. Reduce the intake. Remember that less is more and more can sabotage you.

3) Do not do everything yourself? Designate as many tasks that you can, so you have room to relax – and don’t feel guilty about doing it.

4) Ask yourself if travel time and financial pressure is worth the effort you have to make to visit family and friends over the holidays. If your answer is NO, don’t go. Make the trip when your life has less pressure

5) Rest! Holidays can reduce your normal sleep pattern, which can be emotionally and physically draining. A few minutes of stretching or exercise will do wonders. Make time to read, meditate, yoga etc. Get a massage, a facial or pedicure etc It sounds so simple, but when we are stressed, we forget those simple things that calm us.

6) Set boundaries by filtering what you take on and don’t become anybody’s dumping ground. Put things in perspective and take time-out. Go to a movie. Do some volunteering, cooking, walking or listening to music – all this reduces holiday stress. No time you say? Set boundaries and here are more tips to do it.
7) Go to meetings. If you go to support groups, AA etc. now is the time to keep at it. When you’re under stressed, we tend to forget what keeps us on track. So if it’s meetings – go. If it’s talking to friends or a therapist, reach out. Don’t stop, telling yourself that you have no time.

8) If you’re concerned that all those parties and alcohol will lead to cravings, set it up so you arrive late and leave early -- and sometimes it’s best not to go.

During the holidays, moody people, time, the weather etc. are out of your control, but not everything.

You are in control your feelings, your reactions, the way you handle your pressure

and change yourself -- Always a good reminder -- take the pressure one day at a time.

Happy Holidays.


Q & A


My mother has been drinking for some years now. My brother and I pay the bills and I know it bothers her to have to ask us for money. The only time it bothers me when she asks is because I know she wants to buy alcohol with it.

Every time we try and bring up her drinking she tries to change the subject. My mother lost her mother when she was just 7 yrs old and laid down in the bed with her before knowing she had passed. I know she never got over it.

She says the alcohol gives her the warmth that she doesn't get and we don't understand how she feels. I want her to realize that alcohol isn't helping. She needs to find joy in something else. Her health is at stake. She takes medicine for high blood pressure and I don't think this medication can mix with alcohol. I’m worried and don't know where to begin.

J. D.

Your mom is an alcoholic, and she's justifying her behavior by saying that because her mother died when she was 7, she's comforted by drinking. By telling you that you don't understand, she's also playing the victim. Then you feel sorry for her, and without realizing it, enable her addiction.

Many people go through terrible losses and not all of them become alcoholics or drug addicts.

Since you and your brother are paying the bills, you're entitled to set the conditions. Tell her that there will be no cash whatsoever, and demand that she goes to AA and get help. You must also stop feeling sorry for her, because then you’ll cave in and enable her She won't be happy about it, but you and your brother must give her no choice but to get sober. It would also be helpful for both of you and to go to Al-anon meetings, to get information and the emotional support that you need.


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Next Month

Do you trust your inner voice? How to stop procrastinating, be assertive and now feel guilty about it.

What a positive way to start the year!!

Have a super holiday season!

Return from Holiday Stress to Stop Being Addicted

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