Staying grounded during the holidays is difficult for most everyone. Financial stressors, substance abuse issues (yours or someone else's) or a history of trauma can only exacerbate the problem. Add to that the fact that old family roles kick in during family gatherings and well-adjusted, normally sane people suddenly find themselves acting like 5 year olds. How do you maintain your peace of mind and stay balanced?
I thought putting myself on a budget would be painful. But I found quite the opposite to be true. When I put myself on a budget I found that I really liked being in control of my money. I felt less out of control. I felt less incompetent. I felt better about myself and about my ability to control myself. I also like knowing there was excess money in savings if I needed it. There was also the day at the grocery store when the card reader denied my debit card. "Uh, no", I thought. "That's just incorrect. There is plenty of money in that account." And I was right. It was a glitch in the system.
When gasoline hit $4.00/gallon I resolved to walk more and drive less. I started to take the bus to work (which burns natural gas instead of petroleum products - an added bonus for the ozone). I started to walk across the street to the pharmacy and down the block to the grocery store. I started to run a mile with my dog instead of driving to the gym to "work out". I walked to the video store rather than driving two blocks. What happened?