Helpful Hints For Holiday Happiness!

An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates
Volume 10, Number 12

December heralds the end of the year and prepares us to begin a new one. Not only is it the holiday season but it is a time to reflect on the past year. Was it a good year? Did we live up to our full potential? Did we keep the resolutions we made back in January? Did we just go through the motions or did we really live life? In a few short weeks, we will start again. Consider how you can grow and develop in 2016. Set your goals and commit yourself to improving your life. January is a time for a fresh start.

The entire staff of Kimmel & Associates would like to wish all of our readers a healthy, safe and joyous holiday season.

This month’s E-Letter focuses on Helpful Hints For Holiday Happiness. Our email of the month is about Protecting Against Fraud, and our Ask the Doc question is about the holiday blues. We hope you find the enclosed information helpful. We also thank you for reading our E-Letters and for the many comments we have received through our 10 years of E-Letters.

Practice News

Job Opening. We are currently looking for a licensed mental health professional with at least 2 years of post-license experience to affiliate with our practice, part or full time. This is a terrific opportunity to join our well established practice and develop your own caseload. If you are interested, know of anyone who may be interested, or want more information, please email

Depression groups. Our ongoing weekly depression therapy groups meet regularly in our office. A men’s support group and a women’s support group are run by Dr. Jim Kaikobad and meets for one and one-half hours. The group is educational, supportive, and confidential and is limited to 8 people. A third and fourth group will be starting soon. If you are interested in attending, please contact Jillian at 954 755-2885.

Eating Disorders Support Group. We are in developing a support group for women ages 18-30 who are in recovery from an eating disorder. This group will work in conjunction with the patient’s treatment team to strengthen their recovery. The group will be led by Dr. Terry Newell and we are planning to begin in January. If you are interested in participating, please call Jillian at 954 755-2885.

Afterschool Tutoring. We are pleased to announce that we will be offering tutoring for students in grades 1 through 8 after school in our offices. Jill Kimmel, an experienced educator, will be helping students to understand and learn their academic concepts as well as provide assistance in doing homework. To find out more about our tutoring services as well as to schedule an appointment, please contact Jillian at 954 755-2885.

Handouts from previous E-Letters can be found on our website, We invite you to read and download them if desired.


Our E-Letter this month focuses on the importance of finding happiness during this holiday season. While this is supposed to be a time of good cheer, peaceful wishes towards others, harmony, and joy, it is often a time filled with sadness, stress, financial problems, resentment, family conflict, and exhaustion. The holiday season can be frustrating with good reason. People often feel that they have too many demands to meet and not enough time. There may be too much family visiting and too much money spent buying gifts. There may be too many parties to attend and too many cards to send out. It is also a family time when we remember people who have passed as well as past family conflicts. The days are also shorter and there may seem like there is not enough time to get everything done.

However, stress and frustration come from how we perceive a situation. If we look at all our obligations as difficult tasks, if we put pressure on ourselves with all our “should” thoughts, we will find ourselves with little happiness and feel overwhelmed. But being happy is a choice. You can choose not to let the stress and demands get to you. It may be difficult but you can find happiness during this season by changing your perspective.

Start by believing that you can be happy and enjoy the holidays. Define for yourself what makes life joyful, meaningful, and satisfying and do those activities. Plan ahead to meet all the needs and do not let yourself get caught up in the holiday hype seen in advertisements and commercials. If you want to truly be happy, take charge of what you need to do rather than let these demands control you. Lower your expectations for the holidays; they don’t have to be perfect. Develop a schedule of when to do your shopping and set limits on how much you will spend on each gift. Turn down unimportant or unwanted invitations. Exercise, eat well, and meditate in order to take care of your physical and mental health. Don’t drink too much and consider how alcohol may affect your medications. Ask for support from family or friends to meet all your obligations. Volunteer to help or give to others who are less fortunate than you. More suggestions follow below.

We offer the following information on Helpful Hints for Holiday Happiness!: (You can download this from our E-Letters page)


Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice — Dave Barry


  • People often feel sad during the holiday season because of too much to do, too many obligations and invitations to meet, too much pressure to shop, too much family visiting, too much food to eat, and too few hours of daylight
  • Stress comes from the way you think about a situation; if you have too many “shoulds” during this season, most likely you will feel overwhelmed and probably exhausted
  • You can choose to be happy by not letting the stress and demands get to you
  • Happiness requires having a belief that life is meaningful, joyful, vibrant and satisfying
  • One of the best ways to find holiday happiness is to understand what causes the stress and plan ahead to meet all your demands and obligations

      • You can take control of the holidays by doing the following:
      • Decide how much you want to spend on each gift for each person and stick to that limit with no exceptions
      • Have a written list and set aside specific time to go online or to the mall to do your shopping and do nothing else
      • Ask others to help you with shopping and preparing for the holidays
      • Do not accept every invitation or go to every holiday event; just the ones that are important to you

      • Be aware of what and how much you drink and how it may affect any medications that you may be taking
      • Do not lose your sense of “you” because of doing too much for others
      • Don’t pressure yourself to make it the holiday perfect or the best ever
      • Keep your sense of humor and try not to take the holiday demands too seriously
      • Be mindful of what the holiday spirit means to you and share your feelings of good will with others
      • Develop new rituals or traditions for the holidays
      • Remember that the holidays can also be a time of sadness as we remember family losses and past troubling experiences; be prepared
      • Lower your expectations for seeing family during the season so that you don’t feel disappointed or exhausted
      • Express gratitude and appreciation for what you have and share these feelings with others
      • Give to those less fortunate than you
      • Eat several small snacks a day rather than big meals
      • Take care of your by buying yourself a present, exercising, meeting a friend, going to the movies, reading a book, etc.
      • Relax and exercise so that you don’t stress eat and gain weight
      • Consider getting away to a relaxing, peaceful location for the holidays
      • Seek professional help if you find it difficult to be happy during this holiday season
      • WE CAN HELP!

        Call us at (954) 755-2885 or email us at

        Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. and Associates 5571 N. University Drive, Suite 101 Coral Springs, Florida 33067

        Copyright © 2015; by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D.

        As always, we would like to welcome new readers to our e-Letter. We hope that you find it informational and enjoyable. We invite you to share this e-Letter with others. If you have received this from a fellow reader, please send us your email address to include you on our list.

        Ask The Doc

        JS writes: The holidays are almost here and I just can’t get in to the spirit of the season. I find myself sad and frustrated and I just want to be by myself wishing the holidays were already over. I get bothered by all the happy faces I see in the commercials and when I talk to friends who are having parties. I don’t want to do anything or go anywhere. This happens every season and I can’t wait for it to be over. Why am I like this?

        Dr. Joel Kimmel replies: There may be many reasons for your unhappiness during the holidays but rest assured you are not alone. Many, many people feel the “holiday blues” and are happy when it’s the new year. Most people feel the stress of high expectations to be happy and in a cheerful mood. The true message of the holiday season seems to be lost behind all the sales, obligations, parties, and things you have to do. In short, holiday unhappiness can be caused by too many obligations, too much money spent, too many expectations, too much family, and too much food.

        In reality, being happy requires having a belief that life is meaningful, joyful, vibrant and satisfying. Do you find your life to be this way or are you pressured to shop, visit, eat, and make yourself available for out-of-towners? This disruption to your usual schedule as well as the obligations and expectations you may feel may be causing you to be frustrated and resentful.

        You have a choice to make. You can give in to the holiday stress and let it make you unhappy or you can allow yourself to enjoy the true message of the season and not get caught up in all the commercials and ads that tell you how you should enjoy the holidays. Lower your expectations and remember who you are and what is important to you and be that person. Try to live in the moment and accept that this holiday season will soon pass.

        Email of the Month

        We thank Shirley P. for the following email:

        Protecting Against Fraud

        (Of course, this may all be fake information, so take it for what it is worth.)

        A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company.

        1. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook, they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.

        2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put “PHOTO ID REQUIRED.”

        3. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the “memo” line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check-processing channels will not have access to it.

        4. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks), you can add it if it is necessary.

        5. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. Also carry a photocopy of your passport when traveling either here or abroad.

        6. When you check out of a hotel that uses cards for keys, do not turn the keys in. Take them with you and destroy them. Those little cards have on them all of the information you gave the hotel, including address and credit card numbers and expiration dates.

        7. Here is some critical information to limit the damage in case your cards are stolen:

        A. We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. The key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.

        B. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation.

        C. Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number.

        Till January…

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        If you find this information interesting or helpful, please forward this E-Letter to your contacts and friends. Copyright © 2015 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates.