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Recovering from Christmas – mind, wallet and soul

Posted on 12-28-15 in Anxiety, Depression, Stress

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With shaking hands and a tired, anxious look in her eyes, she plants both feet on the ground and stands up. She looks around the circle of similar expressions and with a frustrated sigh, confesses, “Hi. My name is Jan, and I’m a Christma-holic.”

Surfing social media and news it appears a common consensus the commercial aspect of the winter holidays is gaudy, competitive and irrational. All the stress and buildup, the self-imposed anxiety – for one day. ‘Why do we do this to ourselves,’ almost audibly echoes from beneath the mountainous debris of crumpled wrapping paper littering the floor.

Celebration. Reunion. The happiness on the children’s faces. We remind ourselves it’s worth it. Once the revelry is over, the wallet and roller-coaster of emotions dead on arrival, we’d do well to know how to recover from the holidays wisely, so the new year isn’t debt and drama on repeat.

Financial bounce back from Christmas

According to a December 14 through 18, 2015, Reuters/Ipsos poll, 54 million Americans had not even begun holiday shopping a week before Christmas. The poll also revealed 55 percent of shoppers nationwide are reticent about spending this season due to economic uncertainty.

Many it seems try to hold out for better deals, a bonus from their job to help pay for gifts perhaps or that quarterly third paycheck in a month. Regardless, the irony of ringing in the new year financially depleted is a sad picture. Here are some tips on how to bounce back into the black starting January 1 by blogger and psychologist Jeanne Dupuis:

  • Stick to a plan for the new year of vacations and events which require money in the bank, and plan in reverse to determine wiggle room — if any — for each month
  • Create allowances for each person and expenditure
  • Go on a money diet and limit spending on ‘wants’
  • Explore payback options – consolidating credit cards or putting more toward paying a card down with the money not spent on daily caloric coffee shop confections (thank you, resolution number one)

Emotional elasticity

Somewhere trampled underneath buyer’s remorse and unsolicited critiques from extended family members visiting for the holidays, lies the thick skin to guard our emotions.

Lisa Furst, a licensed master social worker who holds a master’s in public health, is also the director of the Mental Health Association of New York City’s center for policy, advocacy and education. In a richly educating article she offers tips on emotional fortitude through the holidays.

“Some strategies that can help to reduce stress include … attending social gatherings that you most want to attend and not attending those that aren’t as important, and taking the time to practice self-care, including eating well, staying physically active, connecting with those people who matter the most to you and taking time out for yourself to relax and decompress as needed,” Furst advises.

Ode to organization

In the song, “The 12 Pains of Christmas” one man’s part begins with being frustrated about the messy ball of holiday lights; each stanza he gets increasingly angrier and by the end he’s a cussing, fighting mess. It’s funny because it’s relatable. Consider this holiday hub of organization advice ranging from planning gift budget, purchases, wrapping and storage – to systematizing décor.

When planning ahead becomes hoarding

There are some who don’t stress about last-minute shopping because they say, they buy it as they see it, all year long. This strategy can be extremely effective for budget and peace of mind. However if the gifts never make it to the recipients and/or the volume of shopping is still high month after month, there may be a disorder hiding in their closet.

For many hoarders, it’s almost a game – trying to get bargains, good deals,” psychologist David F. Tolen says. He recommends shifting the focus for oneself or a loved one with this issue to creating memories instead.

If holiday anxiety lingers for you well into Spring or further, if you can’t shake the blue Christmas or your year-round shopping honestly mirrors a compulsion, reach out for help.

Sovereign Health is your source for timely and insightful information regarding all aspects of behavioral health. We are in multiple states and swiftly taking place as a leader in the treatment of mental health, addiction and dual diagnosis of co-ocurring conditions. Check off a New Year’s resolution and take advantage of refreshingly unpretentious treatment, to enjoy restored mental health this year forward.

Written by Kristin Currin, Sovereign Health Group writer