By On December 16th, 2010

Introspective Holiday Bliss

The holiday season is a great time to get together with friends, family and loved one’s and enjoy the season’s spirit; however, the season can also be fraught with stressors and emotional pitfalls. There are many things that are beneficial to keep in mind throughout the holidays. Being self-aware could save you some cleanup efforts later. Here are a few of my thoughts on the holidays:

Impulse shopping:

It is easy to get caught-up in the magic of Christmas advertisements, discounted prices and charitable will. However, for many, if not most, it is a good idea to take a personal inventory of past budgeting successes and or failures around this time of year. If you know that you are an emotional buyer, perhaps giving yourself a budget that you choose not to exceed would be of help. If you know of someone who is structured financially you might be surprised at the advice and accountability that they are willing to offer if you simply ask. Avoid credit cards and no interest plans that help one to postpone personal responsibly. In short, if you don’t have it, don’t spend it. You will thank yourself later and just maybe focus a little more on the reason for the season.

Know your triggers:

The holidays can be a blessing for some and a curse for others. Ultimately, however, it is how one perceived past events, or current situations, that determines attitudes about them. For some, Christmas and the New Year are a wonderful time devoid of any social ills or regrets. For others the energy of holiday gatherings can lead to social pressures, excessive drinking, regrettable behaviors, etc. Conversely, the holidays can be a reminder of separation from family or loved ones and cause loneness for others. Be aware of the triggers specific to your holiday environment and arrange for countermeasures. Knowing what triggers your problems can help you plan to avoid them. For some, having a nondrinking friend, family member or church member in the holiday mix can help. For others, involvement in community events or volunteer groups around the holidays could help to stave off feelings of isolation or loneliness. Preplanning and structuring holiday events with awareness of one’s triggers can be a great help.


Abraham Maslow presented the foundational ideas about the hierarchy of needs. The need to feel safe, to have food and shelter, are certainly more basic needs largely met in our society (largely). One would think then that our shared societal abundance would preclude us from grabbing a hold of every piece of chicken, stuffing, cake, pie and so on that we see to eat until we pass out from a lack of oxygen. However, that hunter gatherer within just has to stock up on every last morsel of food during holiday dinners to avoid the imminent starvation during the preceding hours before our next meal. Take to task your instinctual desire to eat everything in sight with the realization that there is always more. Eat until you are content, not stuffed, knowing that if you must eat more there is abundance available to do so later.

Overall, maintaining a healthy balance of work, rest, social activities and personal time is key during the holidays. Often being merry also means burning the candle at both ends of the stick. Make sure to prioritize your personal time and rest in the midst of the overabundance of community, family, food, and gifting glee. In the end, taking time out for yourself will help you to enjoy your time with others all that much more. Avoid the holiday roller coaster of emotions by taking adequate time for yourself, preplanning, and being aware of your triggers.

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