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Healthy and Wise Newsletter | Making the Holidays Meaningful

Making the Holidays Meaningful

The holiday season can be an exciting and “feel-good” time, but it can also be stressful — and even downright depressing.

Why is this? Although it’s different for every individual, Keith Grieneeks, PhD, clinical supervisor of counseling at Bastyr Center for Natural Health, believes it’s because many people have unrealistic expectations. “People have a lot of hopes and dreams that this time will be different,” he says. People hope their differences with family won’t rear their ugly heads, or they imagine that their feelings about themselves and their sense of serenity will be much improved this time, he explains.

While it would be wonderful if our hopes and dreams did come true, just in case they don’t, how can you make the best of the holiday season?

Clarify your intention for this holiday season, preferably by taking some time to discuss it with someone outside of your family (or even better yet, a counselor). What would you like to have happen this year?

Devise a strategy for achieving your goals. “If you have a strategy for how you want to enjoy yourself during the holiday and pre- holiday time, at the end of your holiday period, you can feel satisfaction that your strategy worked,” says Grieneeks.

Ask for help with holiday duties, such as shopping, cooking and decorating.

Pace yourself. Don’t take on too much all at once, and don’t expect yourself to be perfect or to “do it all.”

And, of course, it helps if you don’t overindulge in sugar and alcohol, which creates mood swings. Eat healthy, balanced meals at regular intervals. Get exercise. Don’t forget to treat yourself to moments of self-care and relaxation. Remember, you can create your own meaningful holiday experience no matter what else is happening. To strategize about the holidays with a counselor at Bastyr Center, call 206.834.4100 to make an appointment.

Writer: Sydney Maupin, Staff Writer
Date: 2004

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