Archive for Wednesday, December 4, 2002

How to handle holiday stress

December 4, 2002

If that holly, jolly Christmas spirit hasn't set in yet and you're feeling overwhelmed with all that the holidays can mean, take a deep breath and relax.

"Learn to let go of some of that responsibility," said Aynsley Anderson, community educator coordinator at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

¢ A free presentation will be held on "Fifty Ways to Simplify the Season" from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Meeting Room D at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, 325 Maine.
  • Aynsley Anderson, LMH community education coordinator, will lead the presentation.

¢ For more information or to enroll, call Connect Care, (785) 749-5800.,

In fact, Anderson tries to follow just three words: Simplify, simplify, simplify.

"Delegate," she said. "You don't have to do it all. You have to let some of this go. Lower your expectations and know that people are going to enjoy the holidays, no matter what happens. You don't have to keep up with the Joneses, as far as the decorating, the cooking and the shopping. Really, it's the people who count."

And Harold Pittman, associate minister at Tonganoxie's Christian Church, suggests focusing on family and on other people, rather than the commercial trappings of Christmas.

"Make time to celebrate without time constraints," Pittman said. "Don't schedule a meeting or phone call or task when you are with friends and family. Spend more time with loved ones and be at church functions through the whole season. Allowing friends, family and God to get closer to you will be a greater benefit than making a little more money."

Money can be a concern for families at this time of year. People can over-do and face financial consequences later. So Anderson suggests making a list and a budget before shopping and sticking with it.

"People get really over-extended," she said. "Try to avoid the credit cards and layaway plans. : It's the thought that counts. Even though it sounds cliche, it's true."

And as you're making your list, be sure to schedule some time for you and those people who are important to you.

Pittman suggests learning more about why people celebrate Christmas.

"It's more than just the baby Jesus that makes the story," he said. "That is just the beginning. Take the time to read one of the gospels in the Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke or John and see what this baby came to do."

For families who have lost a loved one recently, celebrations sometimes can be difficult.

"Make sure you remember them and don't try to just keep busy and not think about them," Anderson said. "Involve that person in what you're doing. Make a visit to the cemetery. Talk about what they enjoyed. Know it's going to take time. It's important to be around those you care about and who can support you.

"And know it's OK to grieve around the holidays. Memories are going to come back then."

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