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ACA Counseling Corner Blog

We all face daily challenges in today's complicated and demanding world. ACA’s Counseling Corner Blog offers thoughtful ideas, suggestions, and strategies for helping you to live a happier and healthier life.

Columns can be reprinted in full or in part with attribution to the American Counseling Association’s Counseling Corner Blog.


Dec 05, 2017

Don't Let The Holidays Get The Best Of You

Thanksgiving is behind you and while you're still feeling slightly guilty about that third helping of pumpkin pie, the real temptations of the holiday season are still in front of you.
Of course, the odds are pretty good you'll survive the holiday season (unless you drink and drive, but more on that later), but how about a goal this year of successfully being in charge of yourself during the holidays, in charge in a way that lets you enjoy the holidays without feeling tired, overweight and guilty when the second of January rolls around? 

One starting point to making the holiday season more manageable is simply to do some planning. If this is a season of gift buying for your family, start making lists now of what things will do the job and keep you within an affordable budget. Holiday gift giving can be fun and exciting. January credit card bills can only be depressing, especially if December spending was all last minute impulse buying. And yes, homemade gifts, or truly thoughtful gifts, are always what will be the most appreciated, and usually won't break the bank.

How about not letting holiday overeating this year be another source of guilt when you step on that scale in January? Most of us will face multiple temptation opportunities from office parties to visits with friends to family gatherings. Each event will usually offer plenty of chances to consume too many high-calorie treats. Should you avoid all the parties and those food temptations? Nope. That will just leave you feeling deprived and unhappy. Instead, enjoy all your favorite things, but do so slowly and in moderation. The main thing is to make sure you're in control. One serving of holiday dessert is lovely, but two or three means the party is in control of you.

And speaking of staying in control, the place it matters most is holiday drinking. One drink too many has led to countless DUI tickets, serious accidents, or even just a career disaster thanks to what was said or done at that office party. Especially if you're normally a non- or very light drinker, don't let the holiday spirits do you in. Soft drinks, a wine spritzer, or just one drink slowly enjoyed throughout the party are all good choices compared to over-indulging.
Enjoying the holiday season while staying in control is a nice formula for a good time without January regrets. 

If the "cool" kids are the ones doing some kind of drugs, encourage your child to discuss how he or she would feel and react if pressured to join in. Try role playing so your child can get a feel for what his or her reactions might be. Be supportive and let your child know you understand how difficult such situations can be. But he or she must also understand how important it is to be able to say "no."

Yes, your child will probably have questions about your own experiences with drugs, smoking or drinking. While open, honest communications is best, be aware that some adolescents might feel that if you did something, there's no reason they can't, too.

Your local health department or library has material about talking to kids about drugs. And if you suspect your child is being exposed to drug usage, or may already be experimenting or using, talk to your school's counselor about what to do or where to get help.

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