Holiday edition (how to disagree, indulge, and spend better)
In this episode of “Stuff No One Talks About,” experts discuss the stress of disagreeing with family members, indulging around the holidays, and the correlation between financial stress around the holidays and mental health.
Hi. This is Dr. Burns. My name is Dana Langford. My name is Dr. Domenick Sportelli. And this is stuff no one-- No one-- No one talks about.
There are ways that you can find a respectful place to disagree and not abandon yourself and your values,
but also not blow up into some SNL skit what your holidays are going to be like. I guess I was just full of Christmas cheer.
It has to take all parties being willing to not cause harm to the relationship by standing up for what their values are.
And if you're going to debate, have the vibe of debating, and this is what I say to anybody in family or friend-wise is, everyone needs to consent to this being
a debate, instead of it, I'm going to come at you and tell you what is what. It is, are you interested?
And a discourse about this that is equal and respectful and we're going to listen. I think the other part of it is that--
I mean, there are some things that you just know what your point of view is and there's not going to change it, but if there's any way to understand someone else's point of view
from a compassionate place, then find those places, too. But I think everyone needs to have the line of where you're
going to be, OK, and we're going to preserve the relationship, and silence is a part of the problem as well.
What you're saying, Dr. Juliana, about respect, I think that comes up a lot with this whole conversation.
And same for me and my family. There are a lot of differences, and I think that the key for me
has been having self-awareness of practicing active listening
and having compassion. And consenting to having this conversation and bringing it back from a mindfulness perspective.
I think that the most important thing you can do is to just be aware of what's happening within you. I'm a big fan of going for walks.
I love walking when people are around. I'm like, I'm going to just go take the dog on a quick stroll around the block, or I'm just going
to go and sort of express or exorcize what is happening
in my physical body so that I can come back feeling more grounded and feeling more aware
and feeling more compassion. But I think the component that overarches all of those ideas
is respect. Shh. My big issue with the overindulging
during the holidays is how we beat ourselves up about it. That's my issue with it.
When we have our family-- all together, we do tend to overindulge because that's how we show love, you know?
So the more that you eat, the more that you're loving everybody around you. And that is the absolute truth. It's not only part of our culture,
but it is-- and it's everybody's culture, right? Everybody gets together and cookies and things that I don't normally will eat, but just to say, listen,
I appreciate that you brought cookie that you made, OK? And that you did it out of love. My mother always said that she cooks out
of love, that's why it tastes so good. So-- and she's absolutely right. I love what you're saying, Dr. Manaea. Obviously I can relate.
Culturally, it is-- food is our love language. That is how we express how we feel, and growing up in also
a very Latin and Hispanic household, it was the way that we showed love and appreciation
for our family. Like my abuelita would start cooking Christmas meals for like weeks before, you know?
She's prepping, she's grinding corn, she's doing all of the things. And so once you get to that point,
if you're not eating all of that food, you-- it's a sign of disrespect. For me, especially being a mindfulness teacher,
my biggest advice is always, do what you're going to do,
but do it mindfully. Being fully present, engage all of your senses. Be OK with it. Don't beat yourself up, and think
that's my biggest issue with this season. When people overindulge, we get so hard on ourselves.
And if I'm OK with overindulging, I'm going to be OK with it, I'm not going to beat myself up over it.
I think it's all context, too. Like what's overindulging to me maybe not be overindulging to you, and so we have
to like know what we're talking about when we mean overindulging. And I agree with what you're saying about it. It's a lot about intention and purpose.
And if you're going into it with agency or you're doing it-- when you know-- in a way you know what you're doing and you're choosing
this consequence to it or you're choosing to engage in this, then that, I think, makes a difference. Thanksgiving has become a pretty hard holiday for me.
And the last few Thanksgivings, it just it felt really hard to fix the traditional meal for just myself, for the kids. And so this year, I was like saying to myself,
we are going to go do something different. And I'm going to take control of this and we're not going to talk to my kids, and they were like we don't care about the traditional,
we're going to go on a trip. So I planned a trip for us, and I just finished it yesterday, and I think I overindulged. I'm taking the kids to Vegas.
If that isn't the best example of overindulgence-- I'm getting all red. I'm like, [INAUDIBLE] that's what I'm doing.
But I did it with purpose, and it feels really good to have actively made that decision. Shh
Coming into the holidays, this is a time where many of us tend to spend maybe more than we do at any other point of the year.
Finances can be tough and can be a sort of a touchy subject and a little bit of a sticky issue. And I think it's important to talk about how it relates
to our mental health because we're talking about this because it affects our health and can affect our well-being. So maybe I'll start with you, Dr. Betsy, since, you know,
you-- you're our mental health professional. Any opening thoughts about this? Yeah. I think that the pandemic, again, it's
forced us to be very creative. Unfortunately, a lot of people lost jobs and finances
became a really big stressor. But what I also saw is people just learning how to make it work.
A huge shift that I've seen is that people were able to see that maybe spending money wasn't really
the source of happiness after all. I think just having a different perspective on money making sure that we learn how to budget in a healthy way.
What are things that we need? Being able to let go of things that we don't necessarily need. What I've been able to see is that people
were able to adjust to these difficult changes. Back to your comment about spending
not equating happiness is something that I think became very apparent to me during the pandemic.
You know, I think when you're really busy, it's really easy to just spend and forget that you have an item already or forget that you have food
at home and you don't need to stop and get fast food or takeout. The pandemic was really a fantastic pause
in some ways to take a look at our habits and our patterns of activity.
And so I think that it has become a real place of introspection. [UPBEAT MUSIC]
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