Outcomes, Inc.

It’s that time of year again, when expectations run high, patience and funds can run low, and things can get downright crazy in the bustle of trying to get everything done. Ahhh, the holidays. We have a love/hate relationship, don’t we? It can be a time to get together with family or friends who we don’t see often, a time to give thanks for our blessings, and a time for personal and religious celebrations. But it is also a time that can bring added stress and strife.

For those of us who are alone, depressed, giving care to someone who is ill, or who are ill ourselves, the holidays can emphasize our difficulties. It can be hard not to compare ourselves to the smiling, happy people in the television ads who are busily shopping for the perfect gifts or preparing the perfect dinner for their family. The reality of our situation may look quite different. But it is possible to survive – and even enjoy – the holidays even when they’re the last thing we want to deal with.

The following are some suggestions for getting through the holidays intact:

  1. Be aware of your expectations. Do you expect yourself to cook for 8 people when your schedule (and energy level) doesn’t really permit that? Hope you’re going to resolve a long-standing family conflict? We set ourselves up for disappointment if we make unrealistic plans. Better to recognize our limits and scale back plans if there’s a chance we may overtax ourselves. Now is the time to be gentle with ourselves. Choose another time to tackle thorny issues.
  2. Be aware of your desires. Is there something special that you want to do this holiday season? A way you’d like to spend your time, even if unconventional? When we attend to our own needs and not just those of others, we are more likely to feel fulfilled no matter what other circumstances might bring. We also give the holidays personal meaning this way and feel less pressure to make our experience fit the commercialized mold.
  3. Stay in the moment. Not everything is going to go as planned. If we spend all our time worrying about this, we’ll miss what’s going right. Find something to appreciate about what’s happening. Does the stuffing smell great, even though the turkey got overcooked? Can you look past Dad’s annoying habits and notice that your nephew is doing something amusing? When we can detach a little from our ideas about how things “should” be, we give ourselves the opportunity to relax and just take it all in.

Need some more ideas on holiday survival? Check out these links. And Happy Holidays.

Holiday Coping Tips on PsychCentral

Coping with the Holiday Blues from Outcomes’ Resource Library

How to Minimize Holiday Stress from the Resource Library

2 Responses to “Getting through the Holidays”

  • Kathleen Barnes:

    We are retired and raising our 4 year old great granddaughter. Because of ongoing financial problems spanning several years, although we both have decent retirements, we have problems with any financial need outside our regular budget. Christmas is a problem. We cannot provide Christmas without borrowing from a payday loan which creates months of repayment and sets us up for problems meeting other needs that occur–auto expenses, house repairs, etc. I have made some contacts with charities and am disillusioned at this point. Our great granddaughter’s father is in jail with a 3 year sentence. Her mother (our granddaughter is in legal trouble). Our daughter the child’s grandmother died in 1998. Are there resource to help those in our situation, who are not distitute, but having a very hard time financially. I retired 3 years ago to take care of this little girl and with her problems, could not possibly take on a job. I worked parttime for a cleaning service, but they lost their contract. She has a sleeping disorder and is very insecure so I am on a short leash. My husband is ill and will be undergoing surgery(s) in January. He retired in 1994 when our daughter was sick and was given 2 years to live. Can you suggest a resource we can apply to?

  • Hi Kathleen, I’m sorry you have had such difficult ongoing problems. I don’t have financial resources to offer but I can provide you with some different agencies and resources that can provide assistance with things like food & household items so you don’t have to spend money for those items and have money for other things. If you will call me at 505 243-2551 and give me some details and a phone number to call you at I can see what your specific needs are and where I can best direct you. Thank you.

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