December Newsletter from Christian Family Institute
Christian Family Institute
December Newsletter
Thriving During the Holidays
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In This Issue
Welcome to our Newsletter
Tips for Reducing Holiday Stress
Grief in Bleak Midwinter
Avoiding Holiday Blues
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Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Christian Family Institute (CFI) December Newsletter.  We hope to bring relevant information in this Newsletter to help you thrive during the holiday season with supportive articles and recommendations from our staff at CFI. Please feel free to forward this on to friends and family who might benefit from the information.
Tips for reducing holiday stress
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With our overcommitted schedules, it is often difficult to avoid stressing
out over the holidays.  Here are a few ideas to help keep you sane during
this stressful time.  

- Take care of yourself.  Remember to eat well, sleep well, and exercise.  You will have much more energy to make things special for your family.  Have healthy snacks on hand to curb the holiday munching on cookies and candies.

- Set limits and a budget.  Make a list of all of the people you have to buy for and how much you plan to spend on each person.  Keep a running list of the gifts you have purchased. This will keep you from overspending.

- Be realistic.  Sit down with a calendar and set realistic goals.  How much time do you have each week to devote to shopping and cooking?  Block out time on your schedule to prioritize the most important things.

- Do not expect perfection.  Unrealistic expectations are a major cause of stress.  

- Delegate.  Ask for help with shopping and food preparation.  Ask everyone to bring along a dish to family get-togethers.  This spreads the expense and the time.

- Prioritize.  Remember that you don't have to attend every open house and holiday party.  Practice saying, "No thank you.  We already have plans for that date, but, thank you for the invitation."

- Don't forget to breathe.  Take three deep cleansing breaths each morning and each evening.  This will help keep the oxygen flowing and you will recall this skill during times of high stress.
Jamie Brandon, M.S., LMFT
Grief in Bleak Midwinter
CFI map If you have lost a loved one in the last year, then you may find this holiday season to be painful. Instead of celebrating, you may find yourself feeling very sad, angry and wanting to isolate. People often find the first holiday after a significant loss to be the most difficult. You may be asking yourself "How am I going to get through this Christmas?" Here are a few suggestions for working your way through:

1)Set realistic expectations for yourself.
2)Make sure you take care of yourself.
3)Keep on grieving.
4)Keep talking.
5)Do something to honor your loved one.

Grief can be a difficult and complicated process and a holiday season will often add to the struggle. If you feel you need extra help and support during this time, please contact us. Any of our therapists can help you through your grief.

Links to local grief resources:
Asbury GriefShare
Arrow Heights Life Support

Jill Butler, MS, LMFT
For more information and for the full article text, click here
Avoiding Holiday Blues
Bowden McElroy image Strategies to Minimize Holiday Blues
1. Create new traditions
2. Focus on what God expects of you
3. Boycott the mall!
4. Set aside time to grieve
5. Be proactive in preventing lonliness
6. "Cut the apron strings" and place  family priorities above  families-of-origin.

Originally posted on Bowden McElroy's Counseling Notes Blog, Nov. 21, 2007.
We hope your holiday season is blessed!  If CFI can be of any assistance during the holidays, please contact us.
Timothy Doty, Psy.D. on behalf of
Christian Family Institute

Our Staff includes:
Dale R. Doty, Ph.D.
William B. Berman, Ph.D.
G. Bowden McElroy, M.Ed.
Eric L. Clements, M.S.
Jill E. Butler, M.S.
Salley Sutmiller, M.S.
Lois K. Trost, M.S.W.
Jamie Brandon, M.S.
Amber R. Sherrell, M.S.
Timothy D. Doty, Psy.D.
Stephen Harnish, M.D.