Avoiding post-holiday stress

  • Published
  • By Glenn Garcia
  • 90th Medical Group Outreach Program manager
It's that time of year again -- January. It seems as though the holidays come and go faster each passing year. Making it through the holiday season does not make it okay to let one's guard down when it comes to taking care of oneself and building resiliency. Below are some key points to help get through the next three months and the heart of the winter season, which in Wyoming comes with a great deal of wind, cold weather and flu symptoms.

Practice gratitude
Taking care of oneself and being realistic with new year's resolutions this year is a good way to begin. Sometimes it is more important for people to learn to accept themselves for who they are, rather than believe they have to change and become someone they are not. All people have skills, and they can discover greatness within themselves.

Avoid alcohol
On a national average, there is a vast increase in alcohol use as people get stuck indoors due to bad weather. Instead of being tempted with sitting by the fireplace with a glass of wine, people should challenge themselves to stay warm by exercising or doing yoga instead. People should take the time to get to know more about the people in their lives instead of the people online.

Pay off bills
Now that the Christmas giving season is over and people may realize they spent way too much money buying gifts few truly appreciate, set a financial plan to pay off the credit cards as soon as possible and commit to no more unnecessary buying until the debt is paid.

Be social
This time of year it seems everyone just wants to stay home because it is cold and it gets dark so quickly. People should challenge themselves to get involved in a community project or get out of the house and socialize with your friends and neighbors. All too often, people will go the entire winter season without talking to people next door or simply stopping by to make sure they are doing well. It is amazing how happy people are when they are simply acknowledged and included.

Develop sensible eating habits
This time of year can cause severe problems for people trying to manage their weight. Too often, people will forget about including fruits and vegetables in their meal planning because it is not as readily available in the commissary or local grocery store. Also, people should know that they are still able to use gas grills to cook meals that are healthier than frying. Explore new types of fruits and vegetables that are in season this time of year and try to find creative ways to spice up your meals.

Get active
As the weather turns colder and the days get shorter, it is easier for people to make excuses for not exercising. If people schedule set times for exercise and make them social activities, they will be more successful in developing an active lifestyle. People should remember to start slow and be realistic about what they can do physically, especially if they have never done it.

Be aware
Pay attention to friends and co-workers who may have been having some relationship problems prior to the holiday season. Even though things may have appeared fine during the holidays, there is a dramatic increase in the number of divorce filings in January as unhappy partners make a resolution to get out of an unfulfilling marriage or relationship. Many adults, especially men, don't see it coming and become suicidal at the thought of the relationship ending. Simply ask and encourage them to seek out the multitude of helping programs available at F. E. Warren. Call Family Advocacy at 773-4228 for a list of resources and skill building classes which are offered on a monthly basis.