Ways To Survive The Holidays

Contributed by Hillary Saffran

Ah, the holiday season. Whether you honor a particular faith or no religious viewpoint at all, the holiday season has descended upon you nevertheless. This is the season for gifts, food, friends, family and for many, stress. 

If you find yourself embroiled in some form of family dysfunction, what could be more fun than sharing the holiday season and special occasion with these folks?

Here you are, at the big holiday table, trying to make pleasant conversation with people that can’t stand you. (Memories of my brief married life in Anchorage 24 years ago, but who’s counting?)

You (This is fiction, right?) are so uncomfortable (and are obviously unskilled in covering up this discomfort) that even a root canal without anesthesia sounds more appealing. The last thing you want to do is to choke down another piece of dry turkey in this atmosphere. (You suspect that your piece is poisoned anyway, and it just might be the last thing that you do.)

What a perfect time for Self-Care Tip #11 – For Family Stress: 

Say A Prayer: It’s one of the most potent antidotes to stress. Connecting with a higher power helps you gain strength and clear your mind. 

Now, I don’t mean prayer acting on negative emotions such as, “Please Lord, smote these people now!”, “I pray they will be tortured in the zombie apocalypse.” or “Can they at least fall into a big hole in the living room that goes straight to hell, and then can you make the hole disappear, like something in the Twilight Zone movie?”

Prayer actually can be healing and to the point. Some of my most intense prayers are one word such as “Help!” This can certainly be embellished to “Please Help!”

Prayers of thanks work well too. We can always find something to be grateful for, and that can be very uplifting. I’ve heard the expression, “an attitude of gratitude” can work wonders for you.

However, always be aware of your evil inclination. Come on now, we all have it. So prayers of revenge are not recommended:

“Thank you Lord that schmuck has just developed some heinous disease,” or “Thank you for answering my prayer so that I don’t have to share my life with Drunken Vicious anymore,” is probably not going to benefit you or the object of your disaffection. 

One thing I’ve learned is to never pray for patience. I’ve learned that life is a series of lessons, and that going through tests builds character (Lord, I never asked for this much character!) Praying for patience is a way to ask for the strength of Job and I really don’t want to go there, though at times I think I have. 

Prayer can happen anywhere. There’s phone prayer, car prayer, cubicle prayer, meal prayer, even fishing prayer. I’m sure I’ve even seen email power point with music prayer. Whatever works for you and remember, it’s free. You can have people pray with you or for you. Prayer is all about perspective. 

So whatever stress you might be going through this holiday season, be comforted with the fact that you are probably not alone. There are healthy ways to decrease your anxiety, and remember – stress spelled backwards is desserts. Yum and Happy Holidays!

Inserting Self-Care Tip #11 - For Family Stress, and not #1 is my sneaky yet creative way of shameless promotion so you’ll be so intrigued to find out what the other 49, or the first 10 self-care tips are that you’ll want to buy my book. See, I slipped in the fact that there are 49 other self-care tips! Forget about the first ten that you just missed – now you’re practically salivating to buy this book to find out about all those 49 other necessary and informative stress busters! 

What was that? You were wondering if this book is designed as a gift item? Of course it is! I think I’ve actually created shameless holiday gift plug #2 to buy this book! What was that? I’m too obvious and honest about my shameless book promotion attempts? You’re right. This is why I am not involved in politics. My name is Hillary Saffran, and I approve this message.

Hillary Saffran is the author of Laughing in the Rain – Self-Care for the Storms of Life. If this shameless promotion of the sale of her book for an awesome holiday gift item intrigues you, please reach her at 907-707-7556 or at www.hillarysaffran.com.