Dr. Deb’s Mental Health Vitamin: Making it a truly merry Christmas
By Dr. Deb Wade
GCU Vice President, Counseling and Psychological Services
Finally! Christmas Day is literally around the corner – after days, weeks and even months of preparation and anticipation! The gifts, the peppermint mochas, the bowl games, the family!
Certainly, Christmas can bring out the best – or the worst – in each of us. What is your game plan? Can you be strategic so that these holidays are the perfect bookend for 2017?
- Is there a Grinch or a Scrooge in your family tree? You won’t change them … but you can choose not to inhale their toxic emissions! Put your foot down! Despite some distractions, your mantra should be, “I will choose to have a memorable and fun time with family and friends and will not allow anything/anyone to derail that.”
- Are things in your family less than ideal? Maybe there is some blendedness, some brokenness or some heartbreak and sorrow. What is the best salve during the season when hurt or pain can seem intensified? Time with the Savior will comfort in ways no man can. As they say, “Wise men (and women) still seek Him!”
- Has the commercialization of Christmas left a bruise on your heart? Take control of your own home and revisit time-honored traditions! Nothing is more meaningful than having traditions and seeking the comfortable presence of loved ones in those moments.
- Has there been substantial loss during the year that inhibits some of the traditions from being enjoyed? Decide as a family to create something new! Get everyone’s input and find a way to honor that which was lost with a newfound tradition.
- Are you caught up in the busy-ness of the season getting last minute preparations conquered? Delegate! Then identify a “cut-off” – everything that needs to be done will be done by Friday – after that, it will be left undone, and that’s OK. Somehow, those last few undone finishing touches won’t even be missed.
- Are you exhausted? Look at Number 5! Claim that cut-off day so that YOU can re-energize and will have the energy to enjoy your preparations!
- Are you worried about gaining a few pounds? Fitness is important to me, too … BUT, may I make a suggestion? Sometimes as a psychologist, I choose to live in the state of denial … briefly. I tell myself, “Over the Christmas holiday season, the calories or fat grams just don’t matter and I will focus on a return to the regimen after I enjoy this last piece of pecan pie!” You’re invited to visit that “state,” too!
- Savor the Savior! Let’s not forget that His birthday is near. Emmanuel … God is with us!
Merry Christmas to you and your family! Enjoy and engulf yourself with the sounds and smells and sensations of the season! Joy to the world!