…in the Nick O’ Time!
If the holidays stress you out, don’t wait any longer to download your complimentary copy of Peninsula’s Holiday Survival Guide. The guide is a free community service of Peninsula, a division of Parkwest Medical Center, and includes experts’ advice on common holiday stressors such as managing money, juggling multiple obligations and coping with loneliness. “Holidays can trigger stress in nearly everyone,” said Neil Heatherly, chief administrative officer of Parkwest. “However, much of that stress is self-induced and we can avoid it.” The guide includes information on how to get through common situations such as making travel plans, facing difficult relationships, managing anger and coping with illness and grief. The guide also discusses why the holidays can be difficult for people with addictive behavior problems such as alcohol or drug dependency.
Additionally, there are printable pages with tips for shopping smarter, staying connected with your children and other topics. The guide also offers advice for giving guilt-free gifts and maintaining weight over the holiday season.
Have a Plan and Set Boundaries
Make a list, check it twice
Start thinking early about the holidays. Think about the current state of your life: your finances, your
health, and any other obligations you must meet during the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Then sit down with a calendar and fill in all the dates you already know are booked. You’ll be surprised how much it helps to actually see your commitments written out. Keep the calendar in a place the entire family can access, such as the refrigerator door.
Now you’re ready to develop a holiday plan
Be realistic. Accept that your holidays will not resemble a picture- perfect greeting card or holiday
movie – and that’s OK. Your holiday can be anything you want it to be, so give yourself permission to do what you want, not what you think is expected of you.
Make a list – really. Making lists can help you prioritize what needs to be done, what can wait and what can be skipped if need be. Do things ahead of time if you can, and don’t sweat the small stuff. People eat grocery store cookies just as easily as homemade cookies.
Make a budget and stick to it. The only thing worse than Aunt Mabel’s fruitcake is a pile of credit card bills when the holidays are over. Gifts don’t need to be expensive, and going into unnecessary debt will be a burden in the new year.
Delegate. Surprise! You’re only human and you shouldn’t have to do everything yourself. Enlist the help of family and friends to do cooking, cleaning, decorating and gift wrapping.
Take care of YOU. While preparing for the holidays, don’t forget to care for yourself. Eat well, sleep plenty, exercise and take a little time for yourself each day. A hot bath, mug of cocoa or a good book can do wonders for your mental health.
Learn to say NO. Saying no isn’t necessarily selfish. When you say no to a new commitment, you’re honoring your existing obligations and ensuring that you’ll be able to devote quality time to them.
Can you pass the holiday stress test?
Five signs you may be stressed:
- You’re irritable.
- You’re losing sleep
- You’re losing or gaining weight.
- You feel tense, with muscle aches or headaches.
- You feel overwhelmed.
Seeking Support: When you need more than family and friends
The added stress of the holidays can be daunting, especially for those who already are dealing with their own or another person’s depression, anxiety, chemical dependency, other medical conditions or loss of a loved one. That’s why a strong support system can be an important resource for recovery and empowerment.
While friends and family can provide strength and support for many people, it may be helpful to turn to others outside your immediate circle. Support groups bring together people with similar problems to share emotional issues and provide moral support.
Peninsula Lighthouse offers outpatient groups for people and loved ones of those who have psychological, behavioral and/or alcohol and drug dependency issues.
Peninsula Lighthouse outpatient groups
- Diagnostic Issues Group: Group discussion focusing on problem solving and developing supportive relationships.
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Training Group: Skills training to combat negative thinking – typically 6 months duration.
- Circle of Friends: For adults with special needs (psychotic disorders such as mild spectrum autism or developmental disabilities that interfere with the ability to function in typical group settings).
- Women’s Only Group: Any female with a mental health diagnosis can attend and all insurances are accepted.
- Enhancing Recovery Wisdom Group: Support group discussion focusing on problem solving in ongoing recovery.
- Bridges Group: Group discussion focusing on problem solving in early recovery.
- Weekly Teen Group (ages 12-17): Skills for managing frustration, setting and holding limits, building healthy relationships.
- Children’s Group: Kids needing help with social skills, peer acceptance, bullying and conflict resolution.
- Anxiety Group: Support for those seeking alternatives to medications and or tapering off benzodiazepines.
- Seeking Safety: Present-focused, coping skills model for clients with a history of trauma and/or substance abuse. This group does not focus on discussing details of the experience of trauma;
rather the focus is on building the skills to effectively cope with the experience of trauma.
- Daring Way: This group focuses on shame resilience. The group will be helpful for clients who have established goals and are looking for tools to meet those goals.
- comPASS: A support group for those who have lost loved ones to suicide.
All support groups meet at the Peninsula Lighthouse campus at 1451 Dowell Springs Blvd. in West Knoxville. Call 865-970-9800 for information.
Is it more than the blues? When to seek professional help
If five or more of these symptoms persist for more than two weeks or interfere with work and family life, it may be time to seek help from a physician or mental health professional.
- Feeling sad or empty
- A sense of loss of enjoyment or fun
- Inexplicable weight gain or loss
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping excessively
- Feeling restless or slowed down
- A lack of energy
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Trouble concentrating
- Thinking a lot about death