Surviving the Holidays

It seems the holiday season starts earlier every year.  Even before Thanksgiving, retailers had taken the opportunity to roll out the lights and specialty goods for a host of upcoming holidays.  In some ways, this can be exciting: many people associate this time of year with favorite traditions, time with family and old friends, and a good excuse to enjoy lots of food and entertainment.

On the other hand, the stretch from now till early January can also be daunting or even depressing for some people.  Getting everything perfect for family get-togethers or concerts and doing all that last minute shopping is often stressful, and tight budgets this year will further complicate things.  This is also a difficult time of year for those who have lost loved ones and wish they could be here for the holidays, or for those who have strained relationships with family.

Through the challenges, as well as the frantic celebration, it’s good to keep some perspective on what these holidays are all about.  It was never supposed to be a time to see how many perfect gifts you could buy for others, or to find out who has the best yard decorations.  No matter what your faith tradition, these weeks are a little sliver of the year that we cut out to be grateful for what we have.  It’s important to take some time out of the schedule for yourself and think about what really matters to you, and what you are grateful for in that moment.  Maybe that’s your child, your job, your partner, your health, or a commitment that you can make to yourself to improve some area of your life.

I hope that you’ll take that time out this holiday season – a time we are told to think of others (a very noble suggestion) and consider your own well-being.  After all, if you are coming to life from a place of poverty or ill health, it is hard to make others comfortable and well.  For some more tips on taking care of yourself at this time of year, the Mayo Clinic has given great tips to prevent the holiday stress and depression:

  • Acknowledge your feelings.
  • Reach out.
  • Be realistic.
  • Set aside differences.
  • Stick to a budget.
  • Plan ahead.
  • Learn to say no.
  • Don’t abandon healthy habits.
  • Take a breather.


Here’s a link to the rest of the article from the Mayo Clinic where you can read more about the bullet points and about handling holiday stress.  Be well, and don’t lose sight of what the season is all about: gratitude.

Armin Brott

View posts by Armin Brott
Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.
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