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Holiday survival

Holiday survival


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

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.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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Rob Weiss, MSW, CAS