Resilience During the Holiday Season

As a Jewish person, I’m able to enjoy the Christmas season without experiencing the pressures felt by Christian friends. They have to bridge two very separate parts of the American Christmas: being there authentically for the people they love and experiencing the spirituality and joy of the season, while being pressured to “get the most and create the best” for their families. The realities of adulthood have replaced the dreams of childhood.

When my clients are economically stressed, I suggest they create new traditions of gift giving. Some families exchange home made gifts, others work together to create a kindness for someone outside the family. Children’s reactions to these changes depend on ours. When we’re enthusiastic, they get over any disappointment and discover the joy of creativity and working together.

Throughout the season and at family’s party, it’s helpful to check in with personal feelings. Here are the permissions I give my clients:

  • Don’t let yourself get tired, angry or lonely. These feelings increase vulnerability.
  • If you’re off kilter, re-center by taking a few deep breaths and moving physically.
  • During the party, go for an after-dinner family walk to reinvigorate everyone.

I’m Linda Weiskoff…”helping my clients get to the heart of what matters” and wishing everyone happy holidays.

4 Responses to Resilience During the Holiday Season
  1. Wendy Kinney
    December 17, 2009 | 11:36 pm

    Linda, I appreciate the responsibility I have for “not letting myself get tired, angry or lonely” and the knowledge that being tired, angry or lonely increases my feelings of vulnerability.

    Thank you. This is news I can use.
    Gratefully, W!

  2. Joyce Edwards
    December 18, 2009 | 8:19 am

    Linda’s survival tips for the holidays are so simple, yet so profound, I am sending them to all my siblings in hopes that we can restore some of the joy of the holiday season to our family gathering, instead of feeling like it is an occasion to be survived. Particularly her advice to prevent getting tired seems to hit the mark; mine is a family of procrastinators who have too many late nights during the holidays, resulting in a lot of frayed tempers as the holiday progresses.
    I also appreciate the suggestion of creating new traditions, whether they are related to gift-giving or not. This year for the first time, the dinner menu is being altered to require less time in the kitchen, and more time to enjoy one another. And we can all benefit from that after-dinner walk, even if it’s just to the end of the driveway.
    Thank you so much for these timely suggestions.

  3. Steve Cannon
    December 18, 2009 | 11:47 am

    It seems that some of the most joyous times in life are inherently stressful. I can see how your tips can set a different set of expectations, and relieve the stress. Especially since it is our expectations of a situation that cause the stress, not the situation itself. Thanks for sharing them with us.

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    May 13, 2010 | 8:17 pm

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