Overcoming Holiday Stress

The stress does not go away. We all know that, but we have our favorite coping strategies. The big difference this year was,that in spite of my stressors of decorating, hosting a weekly support group, and working my business (special needs childcare), I was able to find new ways to deal with stress. This is something I never thought I could do. My stress eating and wine, had been my strategy for years!

I remember one night in particualar calling my husband on the way home from a stressful job. The head of this family was a single mom with two young boys. The father had become so depressed, and verbally abusive to her children, that she divorced him. Now they were a family of three in a small apartment. The eldest son was not able to do any task without a major meltdown. He was disrupting their lives, abusing his younger brother, and his mother daily. He was under the care and medication of a psychiatrist. He had been institutionalized for months previously to learn new behaviors, yet the raging continued.

I called my husbandto tell him that I wanted to come home and have wine and stress eat. This was someone elses' situation! I was ready to overeat, becouse of someone else's stress! By calling my husband, I was able to say that last line out loud and laugh at the ridiculousness of the statement. That was a huge step in my growth. My health coach called that a "non-scale victory", so now I use that same phrase to encourage others.

That December my son was also struggling with depression. He was unable to leave his apartment to grocery shop, do laundry, or fuel his car. He slept all the time, unless he needed to work. When he did go to work, he wore dirty uniforms. If you are a parent, you know that when your child is suffering, it breaks your heart as well. I started visiting him several times a week. I did some of his laundry, and read from Dr Anderson's book Habits of Health. It encouraged both of us. This book did not shame us into making healthy choices, it encouraged us. Part of the Optivia progam is education, and that promotes growth for all of us.

I knew that I needed to model healthy habits for my son. I had been modeling bad habits of stress eating for years, but now I was ready to make changes for my health. When our children are little, we can guide them and make choices for them. Now that my child is an adult, I can only modle the behaviors I hope he will imitate. This was one of my "whys."

We all need do know why we want to make changes. I found it very helpful to journal my "whys," so I could refer to them for inspiration. Of course I pray that some day my son will make healthy choices, but he is not making good choices yet.

By the end of December I was down 23 pounds!

It really was the most wonderful Christmas I could remember in years.

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Respite for Parents of
Special Needs Children