LIFELINE

Call 1-800-284-7575

LIFELINE is a voluntary, confidential, FREE, service that provides benefits eligible employees and their dependents with counseling and referral services.  It is an employee benefit sponsored by HealthQuest, the State of Kansas employee health promotion program.

 

Making the Holidays More Enjoyable
December 2006

The holidays!  They're supposed to be a time of warmth, happiness and excitement.  For many people, they are.  But for some, the season can be a paradox.   Joyous feelings and family and religious traditions can be overshadowed by stress, fatigue and gloom—"the blues."    It's quite normal to experience a little unhappiness or frustration during the holidays.  After all, it's an emotional and busy time of year.  The key is to know how to “bust” those holiday stressors,  understand the causes,  and have realistic expectations.  

Strains of the Season

The holiday blues, as the name implies, tend to be temporary and seasonal as opposed to depression which is longer lasting and may require treatment. Still, the holidays can be difficult for many people. Problems or emotions repressed during other months often tend to surface during the holidays.  Factors that commonly contribute to the holiday blues tend to fall into three major categories: psychological, financial and physical. 

Psychological   You may be facing your first holiday season without your spouse or a loved one. This can cause great feelings of loneliness and sadness. In addition, if you're already feeling depressed or isolated, seeing others having a good time may make the situation worse. 

Family misunderstandings and conflict can also develop at this time of year. You may want your entire family to gather at your house, as they perhaps traditionally have. But they may have different plans or want you to come to their house. There may be strained relationships between family members that commonly cause feelings of uneasiness when everyone gets together.  

You may also expect too much from the holidays—that picture-perfect celebration, expensive gifts or hearing from long-lost friends—and then become disappointed when those expectations fall short.  

Financial   The holidays bring with them an added financial burden. You may not have as much money to buy gifts or holiday clothing this year, and you may find you're spending more than you can afford.  

Physical   The strain of shopping, attending social gatherings and baking holiday goodies can make you tense or fatigued. Too much food and drink during the holidays can also cause weight gain which can be especially frustrating if you're trying to lose weight.  

Improve Your Holiday Stress Resilience

To help prevent the season's stresses from ruining your holidays, here are few tips that might help.
 
Know Your Situation   If you've recently had a loss in the family or are separated from loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. It's okay now and then to take time just to cry or express your feelings. By repressing them, they'll only last longer.  

Seek Support   Take advantage of the support around you. If you're feeling isolated or down, seek out family, friends, community, or religious support and companionship.   You might also think about volunteering at a community or religious function. Getting involved and helping others can be a great way to lift your spirits and make new acquaintances.  

Be Realistic   As families change and grow, traditions may need to change as well.   Hold on to those family rituals you still can, but try to understand that some traditions may no longer be possible.   In addition, try not to set your expectations too high. Those perfect holiday gatherings portrayed in pictures and the media aren't necessarily representative of most families.  

Set Differences Aside   Try to accept family members as they are. Leave old grievances or discussions about differences until a more appropriate time.  

Budget   Before you go shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend on gifts and other items, and then stick to your budget. You might also consider giving gifts that can't be purchased, such as your time, sharing of memories, or an item you made yourself.

 

Summary of CORE LIFELINE Employee Assistance Services

Call LIFELINE 1-800-284-7575 at any time, day or night 7 days a week for help handling life's stresses. State of Kansas benefits eligible employees and their dependent children can receive the following benefits:

1-4 face-to-face sessions (per issue) with an EAP counseling service for a wide variety of problems:

  • Day-to-day stresses
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Major life traumas
  • Problems with co-workers or supervisor
  • Stress due to layoffs or furloughs
  • Marital and family issues
  • Drug and alcohol issues

The following services are also available:

  • Elder care consultations with an elder care specialist
  • Legal consultation with an attorney - one per year
  • Financial consultations with a professional
  • Extended benefit for employees and immediate family members for 6 months after any layoff action.
  • Healthy Life Programs
    • Life Coaching (employee only)
    • Healthy Weight Program (employee and dependents)

Take advantage of this valuable employee benefit. For help with the day-to-day stressors of life, simply call LIFELINE at 1-800-284-7575 any time, day or night 7 days a week. That's all you need to do. Just pick up the phone. Your call with be completely confidential.