Friday, December 02, 2005

How To Stay Positive During The Holidays

by Deborah Serani, Psy.D.

I came across this post from author Lucy MacDonald and her blog Positive Perspectives. I think it has such great information, I asked if I could post it here.

"Whatever holiday is on your calendar in December - Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa - it is sometimes is a challenge to stay positive in the midst of the commercialism and general hub-bub.Here are a few ways to stay positive during the holidays:

1. Avoid overscheduling yourself. Use an agenda to keep track of your holiday commitments so that you can physically see what you are committing yourself to. Along with your commitments to others make sure to include some downtime for yourself - even if it is half an hour here and there. Knowing that you have some personal time will help you to stay positive.

2. Lower your expectations don’t strive for perfection, good enough is okay.Don’t expect your family to be perfect during the holidays. Be realistic about who they are and what your relationship is like with them all year around. That is especially true of step-families.

3. Make a budget and stick to it. The price of the gift is not equal to how much you love them. Focus on the people that you care about instead of the stuff that really doesn’t matter. Beware of the joy-to-stuff ratio: more stuff does not equal more joy.

4. Spread your socializing in the months after the holidays. Don’t try to pack a year’s worth of socializing into a few weeks. Start a new tradition with friends and make a date with friends for mid January or early February.

5. Get as much sleep as you can. Schedule one or two pajama days for yourself or for the whole family - stay in your pj's and stay home and give yourself permission to rest and enjoy some time together without rushing about.Holidays are for celebrating what is truly important to you, your family, and friends. Make it the holiday you want it to be and chances are you will keep a positive attitude. "

I think that this is just great advice to get off the "dreadmill" , as Lucy MacDonald says.
Check out her book, Learn to Be an Optimist, for even more positive ways of coping!


Fallen Angels said...

I think all of this applies regardless of the time of year. The gift giving part applies to birthdays and anniversaries etc. The remainder to life in general.

for_the_lonely said...

I am with fallen....these rules should be used not just at this time of the year, but year 'round with all of the holiday's! I think that we often stress ourselves ( raises hand) with worry about finding the perfect gift, and making it a happy holiday for everyone. Often times we tend to forget to take care of the gift that our friends and family love...ourselves!

I hope that you have a happy and peaceful weekend, Deb!


Jackie said...

You forgot to mention to ignore the inlaws!!!!

Love and Hugs,

Heidi said...

I would like to add..How can we stay positive gaining weight during the holidays..LOL

Thanx Deb, I'm going to check out her book.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Fallen Angels,
You know, you are right. This suggestions can be used 365 days/year!

Dear Sarah,
My hand is raised too. Hope you have a great weekend too!

Dear Jackie,

Dear Heidi,
Hmmm....that *should* be on the list somewhere. Enjoy the weekend.


Heidi said...

I just had to come back and tell you that Lucy Macdonald is Canadian and lives in Montreal..Small world eh? The cover of her book is flled with yellow as well.

Enjoy the weekend.

Deb S. said...

Great advice! Yes, these tips work year-round, but this time of year always presents a special challenge to me.

Thanks, Deb. By the way, you are welcome to visit my other blog, Education by Sistrunk, when you have time. Have a wonderful weekend!

Qivan said...

This is wise advice and I agree. I strive to keep my expectations realistic.

Anonymous said...

This goes along with one of my favorite quotes: "To be invited to do too much is inevitable. To DO too much is a choice."

I am so grateful to be able to come here. I hope your holiday season is peaceful.

astrorat said...

Wow.. i learnt about a really cool blog which i would have never know exists if not for your post. Thank you.. :)

letter shredder said...

great post! i should keep those pointers in mind. i saw you post a comment on dcs's blog. and u were asking how she runs her log. what particular questions do u have? i might be able to help.


Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Phaggot,
You are smart and wise :)

Dear Traci,
That is a GREAT quote. I'm adding it to my list of mantras.

Dear AstroRat,
Thanks. I enjoy your blog as well!

Dear Letter Shredder,
I was amazed that DCS had the time do so so many blogs, but now I see that you have a ton of blogs too. How do you find the time? You writers are an amazing breed!


jane said...

those are some very good suggestions. staying w/in a budget & pj days appeal to me.

Phi said...

Your post is the right thing at the right time! I'm on a short holiday (three days in a different town with a friend) as I planned to have my Christmas time BEFORE the usual Christmas rush.. I'm not home, now, and using my friend's PC.. just wanted to say hello to everybody and to you Deb, as always!

sjobs said...

The suggestions you have posted are wonderful...

I am to say, this year I am cutting way back on my shopping, not overbooking myself and I am feeling so much better about it all.


dawn said...

I'm guilty of #3 every year, I try not to, but yeah, never works out that way :)

I like #5. I think it's very important.

Good advice.

chase said...

2. Lower your expectations don’t strive for perfection, good enough is okay.Don’t expect your family to be perfect during the holidays. Be realistic about who they are and what your relationship is like with them all year around. That is especially true of step-families.


My bf mother and I made plans that we would have Thanksgiving dinner at my house, she was going to make the ham and some pies. I made a wonderful dinner, turkey, stuffing, cheesecake, roast garlic mashed potaotoes, corbread stuffin, chocolate cake, banana pudding, rum cake, greens the works. I had it laid out with candles, some wine...she was supposed to come with her boyfriend an this would be the first holiday in our new home.

she nver showed up and never called. claimed she fell asleep cause she wasn't feeling well. Though I found out later she had gone to friends earlier that day. we didnt eat dinner tillalmost 8pm waiting for her. I cant even beging to explain how angry I was, this was just another way for her to "show" me.

so anyway sorry for the rant, but the in laws are the worst i have ever dealt with but im determined not to let her ruin my christmas.

chase said...

see, I should have read the comments first, I should have known one of your readers woul be smart enuf to mention in-laws ::::waves:::: hi Jackie

Carie said...

good tips, I will try to use them, this year I am just not into christmas like before, just not ready for it I guess

letter shredder said...

Doctor, i've started blogging in 2003. It's really funny how I started it. I just thought I could also keep others because I was also afraid that I cannot post some "rants" against the people who read mine, like how I feel about them on some instances.

But now, I guess I'll have to merge two of mine. Eventhough I want to get a lot of readers, I bear in mind that I'm posting for myself and not for anyone else. The group blogs I have are not updated everyday.

btw, thanks for visiting mine.


I n g e r said...

Wow, I really love these--especially pj day, which would be a HUGE hit with my kids.

Thanks, Deb; every little bit helps!

Rose said...

Those are some good rules/suggestions. So many people become overworked, emotionally, and overspent during this time. Hopefully we can all slow down and enjoy the holiday season.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Jane,
PJ days and budgeting are the best! I agree.

Dear Phi,
Hugs back to you!

Dear Mary @ Sjobs,
I'm cuttin gback too. This is the first year that I feel really balanced and not overly stressed emotionally AND financially.

Dear Dawn,
I'm a sleep monger. I need to get sleep or I'm CRABBY! LOL.

Dear Chase,
I hope NOTHING gets in the way of the Holidays for you and your daughter.

Dear Carie,
Hopefully the spirit will find you someway, somehow even if it is just a bit of it. Hope you are feeling better too.

Dear Inger,
We have PJ days at least twice a month in my house. It is especially rewarding to find ourselves at 6pm still in our pjs!

I hear you, hopefully we can all slow down, redefine what the Holidays mean, and appreciate what is really important in life.

Peace and love to you all,

Dirk the Feeble said...

I think a better way would be to completely boycott the entire Chrismahaunakwanaka season and just stay home until New Year's.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Interesting thought...I think I could do that, but I'd have to mark the holiday someway.


D-preZZed?? said...

Hi Dr. Deborah,
I enjoyed your informative blog. Since Depression is also my 'pet' subject, may I share my experience with you as well? Please go to my blog at:

I hope all of us can do our little part to reach out and help someone in need. God bless you.

Ahavah said...

I think I must be the only one who actually mellows out around the holidays!

Although....I have noticed that people's driving skills and common sense become sucked into some holiday void, beginning the weekend after Tgiving and following through New Years. Suddenly it's raining and snowing, and everyone has to jump out in front of you - in such a hurry but only doing 35 in a 55 - cutting you off, no blinkers, more fingers, no merging (even when YOU use blinkers!) I'm certain this is an actual medical or psychological affliction. If not, it should be studied!

At least you have tips circulating. Thanks!

ellesu said...

How perfect! Fits me to a 'T' I'm sorry to say. When I tried to pick out the ONE thing that I needed to work on, I realized that all of them apply.

At times through the years I've come to the point where I really 'thought' I would like to skip Christmas. ....Since I've never managed to do it, I don't know if I would really be relieved or not. I'd probably feel guilty for skipping Christmas! Sigh.

Bill Jones, Jr said...

Thanks for this. I know I sometimes get guilty of trying to cram everything in, even though I don't have to.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear D-prezzed,
Your book sounds wonderful!!!

Dear Ahavah,
You are so lucky to have the opposite holiday experience. Way to go!

Dear Ellsue,
I know I coulnd't skip the holidays. They mean to much to me spiritually and traditioanlly.

Dear Sabledawn,
I hear you. I have been able (thus far) to have a good flow this holiday season. Hope you can too.


irene said...

Dear Dr. Deborah,
Thank you for your words of encouragement. Thank you too for the good work you are doing. Keep it up.
Best regards,

Groove said...

Very good suggestions here. We all get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. And we all know...whatever can go wrong, will go wrong at this time of year.

Pewzen said...

Christmas & other holidays are seasons for both drinking, fighting, abuse & so on.

Let`s stop it together!!

Kim said...

More like "guidelines for life" as opposed to just the holidays! Great post!

Nancy said...

Good post. We should be more grateful for what we have and enjoy our family and friends, especially those only seen this time of year. We all have too much stuff.

I am guilty of overdoing though. I even get a couple of extra things in case somebody gives me a gift and I didn't have one for them! Sad huh?

Thanks for posting this and for Lucy MacDonald for allowing you to do so.

Miranda said...

Hi I followed you down the comment path. Nice blog, Im going to book mark it for later reading.

Fallen Angels said...

Blah...I lost my positive outlook. Has anyone seen it?


princessdominique said...

I love the pajama days idea :) gonna do that back to back!

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Irene,
My pleasure. I'm going to link you to my blog so readers can find your book and read about your personal experiences with depression.

Dear Groove,
Yup, that's kinda true. LOL!

Dear Pewzen,
I hope that the Holidays bring more positivity than negativity.

Dear Kim,
I agree. Lucy M's suggestions are very perceptive.

Dear Nanacy,
That's happened to me too.

Dear Miranda,
I'll link you as well. Welcome to the bloghood.

Dear Fallen Angels,
I think it can be found within. I misplace mine alot too!

Dear Princess,
As I write this now, we are having a PJ day. Schools are closed and the town is shut down. Hope you get some too!


Fallen Angels said...

The positive outlook is REALLY, REALLY lost...trying hard to find it though. *sigh*

Anna Mason said...

my favorite is "lower your expectations." Hey...I do this every day...not just during holidays. :-) How are you doing?

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Anna,
Sometimes it's good to lower expectations. I'm good. You?


Sher said...

I have always over analyzed gifts I buy and this year I am forced to be conservative. I am already stressed that my gifts will be unappreciated because they are not as elaborate as last years.

I am stressed over so many things this season!

A Flowered Purse said...

I so needed to read this Dr. Deb. With the holidays and moving, I am stressed and just reading that everyone gets stressed helps alot!
Your blog is one of my absolute favorites. Its always so helpful!
Have wonderful Sunday

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Sher,
A gift should be appreciated for the sheer thought. Maybe you worry more than you have to?

Dear Dianna,
Moving is so stressful in and of itself. To have the holidays fall withing that timeframe...ugh...I can only imagine!!


Rue said...

Thanks for posting this Deb. Although frankly my depression involves the fact that this isn't a very happy and peaceful world lately. I find myself not so much pray but talking to God. wondering what i can do. What should we do. I guess I'm just generally sad and wish I could do more for charity too. I'm so damn broke though. I haven't the means.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Rue,
Being rich in the heart is more important than being rich in the wallet. Just saying prayers, talking with God, keeping positive thoughts in mind can do wonderful things for you and for others who are suffering.


Rose said...

Have a happy New Years Dr. Deb

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Rose,
You too!!