Here come those holidays again. A time of fun, family, friends, celebration, and yes: STRESS! Many families use the holidays as a time toreunite for the first time in a long while. Whether you are going to be alone for the holidays or surrounded by people, the holiday blues can get you down. Here are a few things you can do for yourself and with your family to enjoy the season.
Think about who you consider family. Family may not be just close relatives. Anyone who is in your circle of support may be family. From the neighborhood deli man who says hello every day, to members of your support group, or your next door neighbor, you know, someone you see every day. These people are your day-to-day family.
Invite someone over for coffee/tea and cake/cookies. It doesn’t have to be expensive.
Don’t be afraid to tell people if you’ll be alone for the holidays. You may be surprised at the invitations you receive.
If you don’t have anything to do –volunteer! Lots of soup kitchens, churches, and shelters need help during the holidays.Some families volunteer together. Perhaps you’ll be the one to make a difference in someone else’s life this year.
At home you can plan a pot luck dinner party. Or a cooking party where everyone gets a chance to make a dish.
If being inside gets too stressful, go for a walk (preferably with someone).
If it snows, get the kids together (old and young) and have a snowman/ snowwoman building contest.
Food Soothes the Savage Beast –Not!
They say that food soothes the savage beast, but it isn’t necessarily so. Sometimes rich holiday food can bother your stomach, raise your blood pressure, or send your sugar soaring. So take it easy on the meal and give your stomach a rest.
At many parties you attend you will have to decide whether you want to drink alcohol (beer, wine, or hard liquor). Remember, alcohol is a drug too So drink in moderation and/or try some of the non-alcoholic recipes given below. You just may wind up making these drinks for everyone.
Take Time for Yourself
With so much to do (shopping, cooking, visiting, etc.), you may find yourself exhausted. Don’t forget to take time for YOU. Bubble baths, exercising, walking, or doing anything you like to do alone will help you collect your thoughts and relax.
Do Things With Your Kids
Make dinner a family event. Sit down together and enjoy being a family.
Read to or with your child or watch television together. Talk about what you see.
Have family meetings to plan the day’s activities so everyone knows what to expect.
Make sure young children take a nap so you can avoid temper tantrums or cranky behavior.
Show children how to help others by volunteering.
Give your children lots of praise for their ideas and actions
Give your children lots of hugs and kisses –you’ll enjoy it too.
Tell your loved ones, especially your children, how important they are to you.
Don’t feel pressured to spend a lot of money on gifts. Make a budget and stick with it. Your loved ones will understand your situation and won’t think you’re cheap. Celebrate the holiday’s real meaning and don’t make it a contest to see who can spend the most money.
Watch out for signs of stress that may get you down
. Some signs that you’re feeling stress are if you feel:
You have too much to do
You want to run away
Frustrated, afraid, nervous
You want to cry all the time
Worthless, bored, or restless
Or if you are having:
Stomach-aches and/or headaches
Problems sleeping or nightmares
Nausea, diarrhea, sweating too much, or itching
Stress doesn’t have to get out of hand. Try these ideas:
Have a good laugh
Hang out with your friends
Speak your mind –holding your feelings in only makes the problem worse. Be assertive, not aggressive. Or, if you can’t say it, write it down.
Take a nap.
Make small changes in your surroundings, if you can. A splash of color or new coat of paint help brighten up your surroundings and relieves stress.
Congratulate yourself on a job well done, no matter how small! You deserve it!
Do something nice for yourself.
Take a deep breath.
Seek support from friends/family or attend a support group meeting in your area.
Finally, enjoy the holiday and your "family and friends". And while you’re celebrating be sure to make some new friends. Enjoy yourself! You have accomplished a lot to get where you are today and you should feel proud.
Alcohol Free Holiday Drinks
Whether you’re attending a party or hosting one, you can have fun making these fun, festive holiday drinks. These recipes are courtesy of AAA Potomac, who wish you a safe holiday season and reminds you to be "first a friend, then a host."
2 eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups chilled milk
¾ cup water
1 cup whipped cream
Mock Pink Champagne:
1 6 oz can frozen orange juice
12 cup sugar
1 6 oz can frozen grapefruit
1 cup water
1 28 oz bottle cold ginger ale
1/3 cup grenadine syrup
La Brusa Nada
4 ¼ ox orange juice
4 ¼ oz pina colada mix
6 ¼ oz ice
Garnishes: Orange wedge
Happy Holidays from Phoenix House, The
American Council for Drug Education
Children of Alcoholics Foundation
164 West 74th Street
New York, NY 10023
Happy Holidays from the American Council for Drug Education and the Children of Alcoholics Foundation.