A Line That Marks A Limit

by Deedra Hunter, LMHC & Dwight Bain, LMHC

Many in the mental health profession do not look forward to the holidays. Why? Because this time of year can create so many additional problems and pressures for people who are already feeling overloaded. Healthcare professionals get frustrated watching good people slowly drown under the incredible pressure of trying to live up to so many holiday expectations.

Depressed people feel sadder, people with addictions are often filled with more cravings, anxious people are ready to jump out of their skin, and most give up on their mental or physical health because they are just too "busy" to take care of themselves. The solution is not to ignore Thanksgiving or Christmas but rather to realize it is imperative to set holiday boundaries.

People tend to recoil at the mention of the word boundary but the simple definition is "a line that marks a limit". The depression, cravings, and anxiety worsen because those afflicted are unable to say "no" to all of the extra demands on their time, money, and energy. Bottom line- the holidays didn't bring them gifts, it just brought them more problems.

Since they don't want to offend or hurt the feelings of their family and friends they keep silent and tolerate situations or guilt-ridden obligations that only occur at the holiday time. Sometimes that silent tolerance makes a complex situation much worse, and all of this dysfunction steals the real joy the holidays were meant to bring.

Because of this we at The Lifeworks Group urge everyone to slow down and take care of themselves by having the courage to set boundaries during the holidays. You really don't have to buy gifts for your great aunt's second cousin once removed or eat all of grandma's double fudge brownies or drink her homemade apple cider wine. Giving your "presence" is often a much more thoughtful gift than just sending "presents."

So if you want to have a truly happy holiday, take a nice deep breath and draw that line that marks a limit because holiday boundaries build healthier lives all year long.

About the author- Deedra Hunter is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and Licensed Mental Health Counselor who has also published a book called; Winning Custody: A Woman's Guide to Retaining Custody of Her Children. She has been a mental health professional for over 20 years and specializes in the counseling and treatment of eating disorders. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida International University, and her Master's degree in Counseling from St. Thomas University. She also holds a Certificate in Chemical Dependency from University of Miami's School of Continuing Education. Contact Deedra at (407)647-7005.

About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change.


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