Avoiding Holiday Stress

  • Published
  • By Glenn T. Garcia
  • Family Advocacy Outreach Manager
It is that time of year again: the holidays. It seems as though the commercialism starts earlier every year.

It may be even more challenging this year with all the pending financial instability. One may be asking oneself, "Can I handle another year of gift buying, fruitcake, baking, in-laws and all the financial problems that can go along with this time of year?"

In order to truly enjoy the holidays, people may need to refocus on what this time of year is really about. It is about being thankful and enjoying time with the people we truly care about. So, before deciding to open that tempting credit card offer or respond to all those Facebook notifications, understand there are some important strategies one can apply to get through this holiday season.

1. Stress proof one's self. Begin by taking care of yourself and being realistic with expectations this year.

2. Avoid excess alcohol use. There will be lots of temptations during the holiday season and holiday parties to attend. It will be important to have the ability and courage to say no to alcohol and avoid excess drinking.

2. Set a money limit. Stick to a realistic budget for gifts food, travel, etc. Avoid using your credit card if at all possible and remember, no matter how hard they will try and have you believe otherwise, pay-day loan companies are not one's friend.

3. Be time conscious. This time of year it seems everyone is asking for people to donate time or money for a good cause. If volunteering time to others, time to one's self might be cut short. Remember it is alright to say no.

4. Practice sensible eating habits. This time of year can cause severe problems for people trying to manage their weight. Too often, co-workers or friends will bring baked goods to work. If one must indulge, be sensible about portions and avoid seconds, no matter how delicious it may be.

5. Stay active. As the weather turns colder and the days get shorter, it is easier make excuses for not exercising. Set time for exercise and make it a social activity. Doing so will allow one to be more successful at maintaining your active lifestyle.

It is never too early to start talking to family members about money concerns and realistic expectations. As the military prepares for possible cuts due to the impending "fiscal cliff," it may be time to discuss having a less "commercial" holiday season and setting some money aside for unknown events that may occur in 2013.

As the saying goes, "it is better to plan for the worst and hope for the best, then to caught off-guard by the unexpected."

Take the time to enjoy true family and personal friends over the next few weeks.