Managing Common Holiday Problems

December 25, 2013

In Eugene Therapy’s last newsletter, we touched on the topic of holiday stress and discussed how to manage tough relationships, familial roles, and more. This month, we delve a little deeper into a handful of common problems that surface during the holidays. If you find any of these topics familiar, you certainly aren’t alone. Many others just like you struggle with one or more of these issues. We hope that you find our tips useful!

Problem #1: An Abundance of Alcohol

For many families, alcohol is a traditional accompaniment to the fine dining and good company that characterizes the holiday season. Many enjoy sipping on a glass of wine with dinner or drinking a beer while watching a football game. But what do you if you or someone you know struggles with alcoholism or substance abuse? Here are a few ideas:

  • To ensure that your alcohol supply remains modest, ask guests to bring snacks instead of drinks.
  • Don’t draw attention to the guests who are not drinking.
  • Avoid social activities that depend on alcohol consumption (i.e. drinking games), which might make certain individuals feel left out or uncomfortable.
  • Stock up on plenty of non-alcoholic beverages such as hot chocolate, cider, soda, or iced tea for those abstaining to choose from. It’s especially best to have their favorites on hand!

Problem #2: Money Management

One of the greatest stressors of the holiday season is that of money management. Just about everyone is shelling out much more cash than usual, and a tight wallet often leads to a bit of anxiety! To ease your financial burden during this time of gift-giving, try implementing these tips:

  • Instead of starting with a list of loved ones to buy for, first set your holiday budget. Include everything you’ll need to spend money on: presents, postage, gift wrap, holiday cards, decorations, travel expenses, etc.
  • Decide who you want to buy gifts for, and divide your budget accordingly.
  • Trade your credit cards for cash this season and spend your budget wisely. When the cash is gone, you’re done — plain and simple!
  • Compete with yourself to stay under budget. If you have any cash left when your spending spree is over, treat yourself or make a donation to your favorite cause.

Problem #3: Achieving A Work – Life Balance

It can be a challenge for professionals — especially working parents — to find a healthy balance between work and family life during this time of the year. The holiday season is a hectic one, with school vacations, gift shopping, decorating, baking, and more — and working long hours only adds to the commotion. Do you struggle to achieve a healthy work – life balance? Time management might be your problem. Try this:

  • Make a holiday to-do list to help yourself keep track of everything that needs to be done this season.
  • Manage your personal and work engagements by keeping a calendar.
  • Set aside time each week to complete a different holiday task. For example, you might get your greeting cards done one week and your holiday shopping done the next, and so on.
  • Keep a daily task list at work that will keep you on-track with your projects so that you are free to spend time with your loved ones come the holiday.

Problem #4: Procrastination

It happens to the best of us! As we mentioned before, the holidays are a busy time. You’re juggling many more responsibilities than usual, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. Often times, we avoid feeling stressed by shirking the items on our to-do list for as long as possible. In other words, we procrastinate! A great tip for procrastinators is to take baby steps: do a little bit of prep work now, and there won’t be so much to do later! Give these steps a try:

  • When you find the time and inspiration to bake, make cookies (or dough) that can be frozen for later.
  • Each week before January 1st, take care of one chore you’d like to have completed before New Year’s Day (i.e. cleaning out the garage, getting your oil changed, taking the kids for their annual exams, etc.).
  • Plan to have your holiday shopping completed by a certain date to save yourself from that stressful last-minute shopping frenzy!
  • Keep flour, salt, butter, eggs, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda on hand during the holiday season — they’re the key ingredients for countless holiday recipes and will likely get you out of a pinch if you find yourself running out of time.

Whether you battle time management, money management, procrastination, substance abuse, overworking yourself or another issue entirely, it’s important to remember that the holidays are meant to be a time of joy, excitement, love, and generosity. Regardless of what struggles you face this season, we hope that you all use the true meaning of this time of year to keep your outlook positive and your spirits high!

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