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Tis the Season of …….. Expectations and Double Standards

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I’m sure we’ve all experienced some version of the holiday struggle.
We’re expected to stay healthy and not gain weight, but give each other tin after tin of homemade
cookies and fudge.
We’re told to take time and enjoy the season with our families, but airlines hike prices the highest of the
year. We’re expected to decorate a beautiful home and fill it will nothing but love and cheer – ever seen a Hallmark movie? In reality, we’re trying to figure out how to fit twelve people into a 1200 sq ft house for
four days! We’re invited to a company soiree at a swanky club in the city. Now we have to buy something to wear, hire a sitter and pray our partner doesn’t drink too much……..again.
We’re pressured to participate in the annual work gift exchange and potluck, yet we barely made our
house and car payments last month.
It’s no wonder some of us want to put on our sweats, pull down the blinds and crawl in bed on October
20 th – when they start playing Christmas music and come back out around January 3 rd when the Easter Peeps go on the shelves! No, I didn’t forget Valentine’s Day. It’s just always a blur from the sugar
Each holiday season, over 280 million people experience some form of depression. It might be someone
in your family sitting next to you at work, standing next to you at the bus stop, or looking back at you in
the mirror. My point is that everyone doesn’t view this season through snowflake-tinted glasses.
The thing about depression is many people keep it hidden from those who can help. It can also sneak up
on someone who doesn’t typically experience depression.
Let’s kick the expectations and double standards to the curb this year! Here are some tricks to help each other and ourselves get through the holidays and maybe even have a little joy. Okay, Maybe I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Let’s just take it one step at a time!
Christine’s Steps to a Happier and Healthier Holiday Season

  1. Learn to say NO, THANK YOU! It’s the hardest word in the English language, but one that will
    give you your holiday season and, quite frankly, your life back! I have to admit, I was a little
    shocked to learn that people will still like you even if you politely say NO. Try it!
  2. Keep a routine as much as possible. Choose your parties wisely. Be honest with yourself and
    only go to the fun ones – you know which ones they are. Refer to #1 for help with this one.
    Don’t have chocolate Santa hats for breakfast. A healthy breakfast means you’ll get through the
    morning without the sugar crash. Happy hours shouldn’t replace your workout every day. I know
    there are many more happy hours right now, but trust me, keep at least two workouts a week.
    Your hips will thank you.
  3. Seek alternatives. Just because you’ve always done it this way doesn’t mean you always have to!
    I realize you’ve always had Thanksgiving dinner at your house for twelve people. It’s been
    wonderful the last ten years! You’re a saint! However, stop kidding yourself. Now that you

downsized and moved into that townhouse, it isn’t reasonable. Play it out. No one will be
comfortable. The kitchen is too small. The kids will be driving everyone nuts. This is the year to
seek an alternative. Lovingly pass the torch to the next person. FYI, secretly, someone always
wants to show off their hosting skills. Either you know who they are or ask. They’re out there.
Don’t let your ego stop you from letting this one go. You won’t believe the relief you’ll feel, and
you can still bring your favorite dish.

  1. Take the time you need. If it’s minutes, hours, or days, take the time you need during this
    season to ensure you’re okay. During the holiday season, it’s wonderful for those who can be
    with those they love, but many are reminded of those they lost. The pain of this season should
    be acknowledged and not stuffed away like that soggy stuff in the turkey no one wants to eat.
    Bring your thoughts and memories into the light, and know that you are not alone.
  2. Get help if you need it! Do not be ashamed or embarrassed, or confused about getting help. It’s
    there for everyone. See below.
    This holiday season is your chance to be intentional about your choices and make it a time that really is
    full of joy.
    Therapy Resources
    Talkspace – online resource for as little as $69/week- https://try.talkspace.com/online-
    Headspace – online resource for as little as $12.99/month and comes with a free trial –
    Therapy Resource – https://directory.choosingtherapy.com/directory

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