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Lifestyles over 50

The Holidays—the Good, the Bad and the Stressful

Nov 22, 2022 03:53PM ● By J D Painter
Ahhh! We are approaching the end of one crazy year (and the start of another one)!
And, of course, our year ends with the craziness that consists of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s.

While we all should be happy, joyful, and thankful as these wonderful holidays approach, why do some people view these days with dread and trepidation? Could this be why Halloween, Thanksgiving (especially Thanksgiving Eve) and New Years are among the heaviest drinking days of the year—to the point where, in some circles, Thanksgiving Eve is now called “Blackout Wednesday” or “Drinksgiving”?

Another interesting tidbit of information: Most divorces are filed between January and March, right after this “ … most wonderful time of the year.”

So much of the above is caused by stress. Why?

We all have this ideal picture of the holidays, fueled by Norman Rockwell paintings, expectations from the former Sears catalog, endless holiday movies and TV shows about happy families (thank you Hallmark Channel), and the hope and expectation that this year will be different. Until it isn’t.
Life happens. Our happy nuclear family is no longer happy or nuclear. We are facing split families (either through divorce, separation, or whatever reason) and conflict over which parent or grandparent we visit for which holiday? Who do the kids spend time with? Whose weekend or holiday is it this year?

How can we prevent this from happening this year?

How about we reduce our expectations? We can sit back, breathe and relax. Maybe meditate. What will happen if the turkey is not perfect? The world is not going to fall apart if you can’t get that perfect toy for the kids! Remember Cabbage Patch dolls and Pet Rocks?

If the ex wants the kids on this holiday or that holiday—Relax, take the day for yourself and just have Thanksgiving or your own personal Christmas celebration on another less-stressful day.
Are you lost and not sure what to do or how to relax? Try these suggestions.

1. Volunteer at a food pantry or soup kitchen.
2. Go outside and see the beauty in the nature that surrounds us.
3. Watch those old movies you have been meaning to watch again.
4. Go with the flow.

And remember this: There is no law that says you have to celebrate any holiday! Pick your own reason to celebrate and your own day if necessary!

Happy Whatever Day!