Keeping Our Cool Over Winter Holidays

Our two most recent posts have expanded on suggestions for holiday season survival that were made by the Mayo Clinic staff in an article summed up with these words:

Take control of the holidays. Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress and depression that can descend during the holidays. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown.

This was so inspiring, Childhood Obesity News searched out more ways to take control of the holidays… or, at the very least, to cancel out the holiday season’s efforts to take control of us. According to Vail Health Foundation, a survey originated by the National Alliance on Mental Illness confirmed that the holidays contribute a lot of sadness and depression:

Of those surveyed, 68 percent reported feeling financially strained, 63 percent said there was too much pressure, and 57 percent said they had unrealistic expectations. Approximately 24 percent of people with a diagnosed mental illness find that the holidays make their condition “a lot” worse and 40 percent “somewhat” worse.

The Foundation suggests a strong and helpful rule: “Don’t punish yourself for not feeling celebratory.” Also, be organized, with a realistic notion of how much can be done within a given time frame. Recognize priorities, control your expectations, and resolve not to be tyrannized by others. (Where do some people get their tremendous sense of entitlement concerning their own expectations, anyway?)

When feeling depressed and hopeless, do something in the volunteer realm, either one-on-one or through an organization. Helping somebody else is a remedy that, while not infallible, has been widely vouched for.

We have discussed body-focused repetitive behaviors, like skin picking disorder and trichotillomania, which in many ways are similar to disordered eating patterns. For confirmation, take a look at “50 Ways to Stop Pulling Your Hair.” A lot of the preventative self-help strategies can be effective against either hair plucking or compulsive overeating.

Here is a seldom-mentioned way in which we could all help others. Don’t be a coaxer. If somebody says “No thanks” to dessert or a drink, leave them be. If you think they are having a rough time, do something tangible, like shovel their car out of a snowdrift. If all you can offer is easy words, just keep them. Try not to delude yourself into believing that someone needs encouragement to loosen up and stop working so hard and let themselves have a good time. They don’t. When a person has self-imposed behavioral limits, or just plain doesn’t feel like doing what you think would be good for them, be a true friend and drop it.

And if you need help, seek it.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “5 Tips for Dealing with Stress and Depression During the Holidays,”, 12/08/20
Image by Ron Frazier/CC BY 2.0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FAQs and Media Requests: Click here…

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Obesity top bottom

The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

Food & Health Resources