December 5th, 2009
The holiday season does offer up the opportunity to repeat bad habits. Many of us have already resorted back to chain smoking, funneling beer and revisiting a toxic past relationship that would be worthy of a Lifetime Original Movie starring Patrick Duffy and Meredith Baxter-Birney. Oh? She came out? Well then, Patty Duke. Every magazine ranging from “Good Housekeeping” to “Sensitive Fisherman” are handing out tips to prevent holiday stress and depression this season. Although I appreciate their suggestions, these articles repeat themselves year after year. This leads me to wonder how effective they are in alleviating the season’s emotional toll. I’m going to make a complete 180 and suggest doing just the opposite. Below are holiday wellness tips from renowned medical practice, The Mayo Clinic. I am refuting them.
Mayo Clinic vs. Jax on Ways to Prevent Holiday Stress and Depression:
1) MC - Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can't be with loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. It's OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.
JAX - Tell a loved one in an uncontrollable fit of rage that they are singlehandedly responsible for all that has gone wrong in your life. After lashing out, add a little holiday flair by slamming a door, knocking over a Christmas tree or throwing a ham through a glass window.
2)MC - Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
JAX – Isolation is a great way to break in your new mattress. What’s the point of getting out from under your high thread count sheets and attend a social event when you'll just end up making an ass of yourself? Besides, attempting social interaction would involve showering, changing the same underwear you’ve had on for a week and making small talk over mediocre eggnog. Who needs the hassle? Stay away from all volunteering and charitable events. If you’re not getting paid for a service..it’s not worth your time.
3) MC - Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can't come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videotapes.
JAX – When some prophetic relative says something like “The only thing constant is change”…slap them across the face and say that you refuse to celebrate if Christmas isn’t an exact replica of last year. The “celebration” could still lead to a sharing of pictures and video tapes. Show your family the sex tape you made with a Brazilian drifter named Alberto in the back of a Greyhound bus back in ’91.
4)MC - Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they're feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression too.
JAX – Family members not meeting your expectations are just emphasizing their weaknesses. Holidays are the ideal time to revisit old deep rooted issues. Presenting your grievances in a PowerPoint presentation will really indicate that you’ve spent a lot of time proving that you are the victim. A pointer adds a nice touch.
5) MC - Don't abandon healthy habits. Don't let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don't go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks. Continue to get plenty of sleep and physical activity.
JAX –Next year is about healthy habits. These last few weeks of the year are meant to be dedicated to indulgence, debauchery and bad decision making. Have a few drinks before meeting someone for a drink. Condoms? Please. When it comes to safe sex.. wing it. Go Bungee jumping. With a chord that’s extra long.