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December 4, 1987     The Message
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December 4, 1987

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Z The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana December 4, 1987 HOLIDAY STRESS! Psychologist offers suggestions for handling stress of the season By MARY T. ELLERT Message Staff Writer Did you know there are only 21 more shopping days until Christmas? For some people, just think- ing about Christmas shopping can cause feelings of stress and anxiety. Remember those traffic jams, crowded parking lots and long check-out lines last year? What about the high prices -- even on the sale items? For some people, it seems the dreaded Christmas shopping will never get done -- not to mention the other activities that accompany this period. That's why an Evansville clinical psychologist advises harried shoppers to take time out this holiday season to give a gift to themselves. "When you take care of yourself -- when you are giving to yourself -- you're better able to relax and to truly enjoy the holidays," said Dr. Elizabeth Kalb of St. Mary's Medical Center. "You're better able to really live the whole idea of giving to one another and of sharing with one another. ' ' Dr. Kalb's remarks were made last month at a St. Mary's program entitled "Stress Management During the Holidays." Other speakers were Dr. Mark Marnocha, clinical psychologist and Robyn Rounder, nurse educator. During her talk, Dr. Kalb focused on the attitudes and ex- pectations many people bring to the holidays and how they might better deal with them. "A lot of our so-called stress and upset and dislike we have associated with the holidays has to do with how we perceive this time of year," she explained. She worked at exploding some of the holiday myths they may carry with them throughout this season -- myths that can "cause us to be unhappy and upset with how our holidays might go." A few of the more common myths are listed below. MYTH: Holidays should be stress-free. Holidays are far from stress- free, according to Dr. Kalb. They bring a myriad of changes and demands, causing an in- crease in almost everyone's schedule. " Plus, for most of us, we still have the regular stuff we have to deal with on an everyday basis," she explained. "Taking what the season involves, it has every single ingredient that I would look to to say the holiday time is a stressor." Dr. Kalb said many people don't view the holidays as be- ing stressful or demanding. When they do feel stressed in the midst of the season, they may react negatively or feel like a failure. "It's a naturally occurring stressor in our environment, and you have to forgive yourself for that if you do feel stressed," she said. MYTH: Everybody else has a happy and perfect holiday -- except me. Many people expect the holidays to be idyllic -- something straight off the pages of Better Homes & Gardens or the Walton's Christmas special, remarked Dr. Kalb. "As a result, we may have a difficult time at holidays -- it's not necessarily the story-book type of thing that we tend to see, and we haven't necessarily failed if we don't achieve that," said. MYTH: More is better, or if I work harder, then things will somehow get better. "We all tend to come into holidays believing that if I just try a little bit harder this year -- if I just do a little bit more -- somehow things will all come together and I'll attain that perfect holiday that I've always wanted," explained Dr. Kalb. "You really can't win when you try to play that game of just trying a little bit harder -- try'- ing to meet that expectation of perfection, because there's always something more that can be done." Priest anoints Chicago mayor CHICAGO (NC) -- Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, who died Nov. 25, was anointed by a Catholic priest, commemorated by a Catholic cardinal, and mourned by" thousands, including members of a black Catholic parish the mayor earlier had praised. Before he was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital following a massive heart attack, Washington received the last rites from Father Thomas R. Nangle, a Chicago police chaplain. A Democrat who became the city's first black mayor, Wash- ington reportedly was baptized as a Catholic as an infant but was raised as a Protestant. VINCENNES American National Bank Bicknell - Sandborn She said it's important not to try to obtain perfection during the holidays. "We tend to set high goals that are often times too high. We're human, and we're in the real world and we have to live with the constraints that reality imposes upon us." MYTH: All of us are respon- sible for other people's happiness. Many people -- especially parents and spouses -- carry with them the belief they are responsible for others' feelings, according to Dr. Kalb. They may think if their loved ones are angry, disappointed or unhappy, they have failed somehow. "Each person is responsible for their own feelings. While we can work to set a situation where things might get along a little bit better, it's up to that other person to decide how they want to feel or how they choose to be affected by this given situation," she explained. Dr. Kalb listed some ways people can dispel these holiday myths. They are: SOLUTION: Stop working for perfection. "Dare to have an average and enjoyable holiday," she said. "It's the thought behind what we're doing that counts -- not necessarily what it is we do." Dr. Kalb advised that people lower the expectations and de- mand they put on themselves for having a perfect holiday. SOLUTION: Simplify what you do. People should make sure they're doing what they "want" to do this holiday season -- not what they think they "should" be doing. , ., "Try to balance that out this holiday season so you're having more things that you truly want to be doing," she said. Along with this idea goes the concept of delegating or shar- ing some of the work this holi- day season with others so "you're not stuck doing it all." SOLUTION: Become a child again. Children are a lesson for all of "1 Built with Quality to Save You Time & Money  RANSMtSSIONS Alvin C. Ruxer, Pres. Factory and General Office Other res 3have people fin parish r as Dean of Father ,Kiesel believes 'theNewburgh Deanery and du:assignment he has Is | Dean Washington sign:of things to, come in the | Deaneryi' . ': Chhi as fewer priests care | After depure of for growing numbers of | iFSer Heerdi to Catholics. : ,,, , I Funeral Homes :,, Four Convenient Locations ZIEMER-SHEARS EAST CHAPEL 800 S. HEBION AVE. Vincennes Hwy. 231 S. Jasper, IN i' I Drive-in Facilities- Member F:.O.l.C. (8121482-1041 llmll [bINGLE! l, . , :,00I:,J00:ME00JETT &ASSOC!&TES i; ' ...... / FOR COMPLETE ,, ;; | JL . iLreen rover Koaa ' I ' " ' I ELECTRICAL SERVICE : i" ! , B o,_8104 .... 'l" ' ": ::i"'!r![ddi::i:':" :' i iii!t]Si:;!!i:it:::s I H;G"FISCHER.;: - I ,: 853-0460r. i,,: ', / ,-r, ..... , I' " [q' ' 20WENN'NGS U EWe U aG H us because they understand the' ' explained. "Look at how a five-, holiday spirit and magic, year old approaches this holi- remarked Dr. Kalb. day time. Think of what a good "As adults, we've moved time they sincerely tend to from just appreciating the have," she said. "Watch what holidays to turning them into the children do. They just an additional, extra amount of sincerely enjoy the. holidaysj work and problems for us," she and what they mean."