Coping with the Holiday Stress; Loving the Scrooge in You (II)


scroogeChristmas Spirit Present

After recognizing the Scrooge inside you, what do you do?

Here are three questions to ask yourself:
1. What don’t I like about the holiday season? Make a list of the answers you come up.
No matter what the answer is, don’t judge yourself. Remember, usually, the answer to this question usually just makes you unhappy. However, the judgment of your answer can make you feel depressed.

2. Based on your answers, separate them into two columns as to whether they have a practical way to resolve? For example, if you don’t have time to drive to the mall, shop online. If you don’t have enough money, stick to the budget that is reasonable.

To resolve the practical issues, it is important to have a good time management and financial budget. Take out your calendar and do some time management. I have always suggested the couples talk to each other and map out all the things that needed to finish during this holiday time, including all the regular tasks such as paying the bills and “seasonal tasks” such as kids’ holiday performance. By talking through the responsibilities and map out the time as to who can do what, you establish a sense of unity and collaboration.

If you are single, that’s the same thing you can do, too! Make a plan for the shopping, cooking, gift wrapping, etc.. Revisit your plan on a weekly basis and make changes as needed. By doing so, you are taking control back to your life.

After finishing these two steps, you will feel an immediate sense of relief because you are taking control over your emotions. Every day, when you cross the items on your list or when you see you conquer certain tasks, it certainly will change your mood from stress and depressed to relief and accomplishment.

3. The last question, what are the items on the list that are not changeable? Usually, the answer to this question has involved a person or a group of people. For example, it might be your in-laws or your parents. It might be the memories of the childhood that brought up the sadness. These are usually the hardest thing to change. Why? You can’t change the past, and you can’t change other people unless they want to change themselves.

So, what do you do?

As I said earlier, when you work out the first two questions, you will feel much more relief. Now, you are much more in control of your emotions. You can control what you can control. That is certainly going to bring up some relief.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t change what you can’t control, the people you don’t like, the dysfunctional family patterns, and the unpleasant memories from the past. You can change how you feel, but you can’t change the people involved. How do you change the feelings without changing the situation? Let me explain this a little more in the next one. I want to close today with the serenity prayer that suits with the answers to the third question.

God, Grant me the
Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
Wisdom to know the difference.
~ Reinhold Niebuhr
So, let me explain item # 3 in more detail next time.

Coping with the Holiday Stress; Loving the Scrooge in You Series

I: Is there a Scrooge in you?


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