Saturday, December 20, 2008

the season to be jolly

Xmas 1970
I'm having a tough time! I keep recalling the family photos. The good old days of yore when we attended church, candlelight services, and the giant turkeys. Those days are gone when the town clears out as snowbirds take off to warmer climes. Restaurants are closing for winter. Things are pretty quiet!

But as times change, traditions must evolve and adapt to circumstances. Not everyone is able to have the story-book Christmas. Many need help and could use a friend. Most days are the same in institutions, although the staff really are cheerier.
We made it a point to take a gift basket in on Christmas Eve to the emergency ward in the local hospital where my poor husband spent several visits. Such great people, as he dealt with the impact of having a chronic nosebleed while taking aspirin.

We have to remember that any are unable to find food, clothing and shelter, let alone peace, health, happiness, and a Christmas card celebration. Many do not uphold this secular holiday, either. For those with frail or ailing family members, dysfunctional families or family members with serious health or emotional issues, all has an impact on their holiday celebration.

After divorce or bereavement, traditional celebration must change. Do not attempt to do what you did before. Do only what you can manage.

Understand that those with dementia may or may not understand that it is the holiday season. Be reasonable about your situation. Give yourself permission to focus on children, family and friends. This s a tough time for all, do not give yourself more pressure than you need.

Sibling issues may rise to the fore during these visits. During family occasions, simply nod, and thank the advice giver for the advice, and say you will take it into account. There are tips about getting siblings to help. It is worth it to develop a strategy. "Do you want to do X or Y?" to seek help. This article suggests, "Drop the fantasy, Lose the guilt". The good old days of Barbie dolls=happiness are gone.

Depression and the Holiday Season
suggests gestures, memorials, lighting candles, creating a photo album, and recommends that you examine your holiday Must Do's: routines you need not feel obliged to carry on with to save your sanity. Prevent health issues by getting rest, eating the right foods in balance, refraining from addictive behaviours, getting sleep and letting go your worries. Honour those who have passed, but move on.

Write a list of the things you worry over, determine the things you can fix, burn the list of things you cannot change (a medical diagnosis, the responsibilities you want to do) and let it go. Live in the present moment. Seek respite help. Be good to yourself.

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