Volunteer Seminar Report: Holiday Stressors

Today”s blog written by Volunteer JFCS Reporter Robin Ungar!

On November 14, 2011, Judy Freundlich Tiell, Executive Director of Jewish Family and Career Services, did a volunteer seminar on the above-mentioned topic. It was a great seminar and Judy did a great job.

Holidays are not really that stressful, are they? Unfortunately, they can be. Although holidays are supposed to be a joyous time of year to spend with family, friends, and loved ones, lots of times the season is anything but. Holiday stress means a lot of different things to different people. It could mean family or no family, or feelings of isolation. People are rushing around to get things accomplished, optimistic that this year will be better – or that nothing can live up to the nostalgia of past years. Holidays can be stressful for empty nesters, too. Then of course, there are people that think they are “super people” and try to accomplish too much! I cannot forget to mention that this year, like others, there are economic pressures as well.

There are some really good realistic expectations that were discussed at the seminar. The first one is time and energy, and the second one is money. Families can get together when airline tickets are cheaper. You can also have a pot luck dinner or even go to a restaurant. Your family can make a new tradition or ritual while still keeping the normal routine. You don”t have to buy good memories. The third expectation we discussed is gift giving. I know a lot of people that have big families pick a name to shop for in order to save money and not have to buy a gift for every family member. I have heard that this really works out well.

It is really critical to reach out to people during the holidays especially if they do not have any place to go or anyone to spend the holidays with.

Family relationships is another important thing to consider during the stress of the holidays. Go back into your old roles. Just listen and let it roll past you (agree to disagree). If you have grandchildren, figure out how to focus on them. Talking about family history could be a really good topic to discuss, especially if there are younger children around. Unfortunately, there are people who have dysfunctional families, and if this is the case with your family, do what you feel is best for you and yours. Dysfunctional families show that they are connected by arguing, and are probably better off getting together in a home-based setting.

If you always think the holidays are going to be perfect, they won”t be. Just enjoy the day and time you spend with your family and loved ones. A lot of people take for granted the time they spend with their family and loved ones, and it”s gone before you know it. Have a good time and enjoy their company!

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