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Stress, depression and the holidays: 12 tips for coping

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From http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress/MH00030 - 11-4-08

 

 

Stress and depression can ruin your holidays and hurt your health. Being realistic, planning ahead and seeking support can help ward off stress and depression. For some people, the holidays bring unwelcome guests

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Stu:

 

I agree with you wholeheartedly. We are very lucky to have Donna at the helm of our ship.

 

 

 

 

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The first Thanksgiving after Bill's 2004 stroke he was in the hospital so that solved the Thanksgiving dilemma. Ironically Christmas came and he was back in the hospital. Bill's son Trey and I took a little Christmas tree to the hospital and we had a nice quiet family day together. It was a real special day for all of us.

 

I used to be so exhausted by Christmas that I was either sick or numb. One of the blessings of stroke in our case is that we have all been able to celebrate the season.

 

Rather than spending Thanksgiving with the entire family we have a quieter day. We haven't gone out but we have had Mom Rogers with us for the day. Since she is now in her mid 80's she seems to enjoy spending a quiet day celebrating, giving thanks and reminiscing about 'the old days'.

 

I love to decorate for Christmas and I do the decorating. Bill's got a really good eye for balance in decorating so I use him for my compass. Three years ago we bought one of the prelit Christmas trees and that has saved us so much stress. Neither one of us has to worry about that anymore. We do some shopping together. We go during the week - never on the week-ends. We have a cut off date and don't enter a store after that day.

 

Every stroke survivor is different. I just know mine. He prefers to be home and feels more comfortable in his own surroundings. We decided to celebrate the way we want to do it and we have been able, at the end of the day, to look at each other and smile because we aren't so exhausted from getting ready for the one day celebration.

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Man, my stress would come from swiping that plastic credit card like I'm seeing so many do these days when the economy is like it is. So being a careful spender will ease all my stress and I plan on a great holiday season this year. Donna, those are really great tips to follow and apply.

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The first Thanksgiving after Bill's 2004 stroke he was in the hospital so that solved the Thanksgiving dilemma. Ironically Christmas came and he was back in the hospital. Bill's son Trey and I took a little Christmas tree to the hospital and we had a nice quiet family day together. It was a real special day for all of us.

 

I used to be so exhausted by Christmas that I was either sick or numb. One of the blessings of stroke in our case is that we have all been able to celebrate the season.

 

Rather than spending Thanksgiving with the entire family we have a quieter day. We haven't gone out but we have had Mom Rogers with us for the day. Since she is now in her mid 80's she seems to enjoy spending a quiet day celebrating, giving thanks and reminiscing about 'the old days'.

 

I love to decorate for Christmas and I do the decorating. Bill's got a really good eye for balance in decorating so I use him for my compass. Three years ago we bought one of the prelit Christmas trees and that has saved us so much stress. Neither one of us has to worry about that anymore. We do some shopping together. We go during the week - never on the week-ends. We have a cut off date and don't enter a store after that day.

 

Every stroke survivor is different. I just know mine. He prefers to be home and feels more comfortable in his own surroundings. We decided to celebrate the way we want to do it and we have been able, at the end of the day, to look at each other and smile because we aren't so exhausted from getting ready for the one day celebration.

 

Our family likes to celebrate R

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Donna ~

 

I can say Amen to all that you mentioned. I already feel myself uncouncously tensing

up over the holidays. Both Thanksgiving & Christmas. Thanks for your words of encourag-

ment...I'm unable to do what I did before my stroke or even last year. So I have to find

peace in the midst and just enjoy eveyone being together.

 

So the joining of all is soothing, we are all in the same boat so to speak. We encourage one

another to accept, move on & ENJOY what we do have! HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU ALL!!!!!

 

Love & Peace to all ~ Nancy

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donna,

that is a wonderful, terrific, great.......post. i am printing it out and keeping it by my bedside. i remember my first thanksgiving post stroke...i actually felt like some of my family that came to dinner considered me contagious. lol......thanks again! kathy

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Great advice Donna. Happy Holidays to you.

 

Marie-Claire

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Stu,

 

I guess that's the secret, isn't it ... to make it what you want it to be! I think the most important thing for those of us who are caregivers to do is to include our survivors in making the decision about how we are going to celebrate the holidays each year. In our case, every year has been different. Bill makes the decision of how we are going to celebrate.

 

I'd never heard of your traditional celebration and it sounds wonderful!

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For my husbands side of the Family... we do one of 2 things.. we either draw names.. and have a $$$ limit. or we have a gift exchange. ech family (adults) take 2 gifts (also a $ limit) and we chose numbers.. then next person can "steal" a gift ( a gift can only be stolen 2 times)

 

I have made baskets.. one was a family theme with movies ..popcorn .. and some of the large sizes of movie tpe candies. One was a basket with wine and glasses and those little trinkets you put on the glasses so you know whose glass is whose.

 

one basket was cheese, a cheese board, summer sausage..

 

I also crohet.. you take cute kitchen towels.. cut them in half and crochet across the top so they can hang on the stove or refrigeraor handle. ( I try to keep some of those made up incase I need an "unexpected gift" I also crochet around the plastic round kitchen scrubbers ( free crochet patterns on line) i do some in colors to match the kichen towels.

 

A few year John and I have gone out for dinner.. and do shopping late evenings.. most stores have late evening hours.. and we found it to be much less crowded at those times. ( A nap during the day.. for a late night of shopping...

 

 

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donna, i agree, those were excellent tips for the holidays. last year was the 1st since my stroke that i was able to decorate for xmas with help from a friend. it was more festive and enjoyable for me anyway to have my house like i wanted it. this year, i'm not sure what i will be doing for the holidays, hopefully spending it with my new grandson in texas. i will not have the stress of decorating, shopping is done either online or out in stores, i think i will take ann's advice about shopping. i get stressed in crowds. the point is to enjoy the holidays, in a way comfortable to you.

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Lots of good information, Donna. For me I was home from the hospital only a few months before Xmas. I would have cried just reading your suggestions! In fact, I cried Xmas day because everything was SO different for me and it was just me, my husband and my mother-in-law at our house. That was 2 years ago and I have learned a lot since then. Realistically looking at what I can do and letting others do everything else. We do not put up a tree which in itself was hard - the first xmas in 63 years without a tree and no gifts.

I now keep things very simple and was able to put up a few decorations last year. We invited my brother and his family last year and everything was planned well in advance food-wise. I did some organizing but no cooking. Again no gift, no tree, but lots of love and no crying on my part. Like they say, you've come a long way baby!

 

Leah

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Some good advice from our classic postings for coping with the holidays.

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