Holiday survival tips

Santa’s got nine reindeer by last count, but they won’t do you any good if the holidays have you in a funk, vulnerable to indulging your worst instincts. So we’ve got nine tips for keeping it together

BY Rob Weiss, MSW, CAS

December 09 2005 12:00 AM ET

1. Stick to
typical weekly routines, even when disrupted by days off,
holiday parties, and the like. Don’t completely give
up the gym, laundry, or a favorite weeknight TV show
just because it’s “the holidays.”
Routines can be...well, routine, but they help us to stay
comfortable in ordinary familiarity.

2. Forgive
yourself for your indulgences, and avoid beating yourself up
for every devoured Christmas cookie or hangover. A key to
playing well and effectively is to avoid successive
experiences of partying, overeating, or sexual
adventuring. It’s simple: Don’t indulge daily.
Besides, the occasional treat of one kind or another is much
more exciting than living in excess every day.

3. Make your
weekend and holiday plans well in advance (so you’re
not left on a holiday Friday night with nothing to do
for several days). Start to plan on Monday or Tuesday
for the upcoming weekend.

4. Work out.
Exercise not only will improve your mood, but it keeps the
ginger cookie pounds off.

5. Do your best
to avoid drama. The holidays themselves are dramatic
enough, in good and bad ways. If possible, try to avoid
breaking up with someone, quitting a job, or any
personal drama. There will always be time for drama
the whole rest of the year.

6. Schedule some
time with someone you love. Make sure that you book a
lunch, coffee, or meal with someone important to you. Those
few minutes together will perk up your spirits for
days.

7. Don’t
isolate. This means get out of your place to shop, walk,
eat, go to a movie or hang out somewhere--even by
yourself. It’s better to be out in the world
around people than home alone for long periods of time.
Being home alone with no plans is a setup to feel bad.

8. See if you can
find something that you can do in the world for someone
else. This really works. If you are feeling particularly
lonely or unloved, find someplace that needs help
delivering or making meals; serve food to the
homeless; volunteer for a nursing home that needs holiday
help so you can spend some time with those alone and
elderly; or even write a few small checks to worthy
causes. These things will make you will feel better
about yourself, be more grateful for your own life, and
help someone else at the same time.

9. Don’t
sit around with the fantasy that everyone else except you is
having the perfect family holiday. We can drive ourselves
crazy comparing our lives with all the media images of
happy people out shopping together or sitting around
the table. Life just isn’t that happy for anyone,
especially at December’s end, so chill out with some
low-fat eggnog and count your blessings.

Tags: Health

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