Question 12/1 from Jose:

This time of year, my entire household is nervous and anxious. How can I keep the pressures of entertaining, family obligations and a shrinking budget from ruining my family’s holiday fun?


 Answer from SkillfulDoc:

  The most basic answer to the dilemma of increased anxiety during the holidays, especially this year, is to connect to your family on a new level. For example, this is the perfect time to take the opportunity to find ways to enjoy the company of others with less “material” things. By exercising other “muscles”, particularly those that require more imagination and creativity, we actually might find that we are more relaxed and enjoy ourselves even more than in the past. The truth is things can be distracting. With fewer choices, we might actually be able to better focus on the reason we get together in the first placeour bonds and devotion to others. All together, this leads to greater balance in our lives and can help us going forward.

 In truth, the trend over the past several years, with ever increasing excesses, has been to push us further from our center and ability to experience joy without all the “things” we possess or wish to possess. While our first reaction to this change might be resistance, with more thought we might learn to embrace a different perspective.


In my book, Skillful Living, I explain how I often tell my patients to think of every day of your life as a treasure hunt. Though we might start with the familiar, including various routines and rituals there is also a dynamic pressure to evolve. Life is not static. This undeterminable factor of change is what we are feeling this holiday season with our current economic situation. It becomes a necessity, then, to learn to adapt. Along the way, we might find or learn something new that is even better than old; especially if we keep our eyes open and focused on finding silver linings instead of the silver lost.


Too often we remain focused on the problems at hand. In so doing, we are at risk to lose sight of the beauty that surrounds us. However, if you are balanced and relaxed then you can take a moment to absorb the wonder. This holiday season, with intention; place your emphasis on the beauty of your relationships apart from the presents and the food. Put more thought into each thing you have now. While you might have to downsize and simplify the feasts and the gifts, make each one count. Very often less is more.


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