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          Making the Holidays More Enjoyable

          December 18, 2002

           

          If the holidays are a time of stress for you, or if too much family time is making you wish you could wake up when Christmas was all over, Dr. Phil has advice.

          • Are your expectations realistic? What gets people upset is not what actually happens, but having their expectancies violated. If you want everything to be perfect, with dinner starting on time, and all the kids behaving, you’re probably setting yourself up for disappointment. Based on results, are your expectancies realistic? Lower them so you’re not frustrated year after year.
          • Lighten up and go with the flow. Take a step back and relax. When your family gets on your nerves, laugh it off.
          • Remember that Christmas is not a problem-solving session. Deal with your family issues another time.
          • Limit the time you spend with your family. It may be special for everyone to be together, but there’s no need to overdo it.
          • If a meal is stressful, try making changes. For example, maybe you need to invite fewer people, serve it buffet style, or have the celebration in a hotel or restaurant.
          • Give yourself permission to not have perfection. The house need not have every light hung perfectly in order for the holiday to be beautiful and special. Would your kids rather have your attention or every ornament on the tree properly placed? If you’re striving for perfection, give yourself a break.
          • If the holiday season makes you focus on unresolved pain or guilt from your past, start creating new traditions.
          • Remember what the holidays are really about. Family togetherness, spiritual enlightenment and camaraderie with friends are far more important than the details that are often focused on.
          • If the holidays make you feel empty, give to others. The best way to get is to give. Fill your heart up by helping those who are less fortunate.
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