Don't Let Stress Take the Fun Out of the Holidays
by Luna Calderon
Holidays can be stressful to some extent for everyone. For those who actively participate, the season's celebrations, shopping, preparations and family events can be both joyful and overwhelming. Others may feel out of sync with the hustle and bustle of the season.
Those who do not observe the traditional holidays of Christmas or Hanukkah may feel excluded or imposed upon. A person who has recently suffered a loss, trauma, or illness may find it difficult to carry on the usual traditions.
Some people experience post holiday blues--feelings of sadness after leaving loved ones or from being forgotten or ignored.
Whatever your situation, there are many proactive choices you can make to deal with holiday stress. Some strategies follow.
Acknowledge Intense Feelings
Take control of your personal situation. Avoid situations that overly stress or upset you. Even the most well-intentioned reunions can induce tensions, fights and miscommunication.
If you feel obligated to attend a gathering where you feel uncomfortable, plan to stay a short time. While those around you are overindulging in food, drugs or drink, you can make conscious choices about whether or how much to consume.
If you are in recovery from drugs or alcohol, seek out extra support group meetings or clean and sober events.
Give yourself permission to feel depressed, angry, sad or lonely. Try coping with these feelings through talking to friends, family or a counselor, exercising or journal writing.
Remember, the holiday season will soon be over; the passage of time will help you return to normal.
If you are far from your loved ones, plan to be with friends, volunteer in your community to help those less fortunate than yourself, or use the phone. Try not to isolate yourself.
If you usually spend the holidays with a spouse/partner, children and other loved ones, enlist them in starting new traditions that feel comfortable to your particular needs. These may include going for a hike, playing a board game, or cooking a vegetarian meal.
Don't Overlook Your Own Needs
Have fun. Expose yourself to humor. Give at a level that feels comfortable to you (in terms of time, money and energy). Prioritize your time; don't overload yourself with too much to do.
Even though this is a time of "giving to others," give yourself plenty of self-care and attention, including rest and quiet time.
If you are feeling anxious about any aspect of the upcoming season or if you feel the "blues" are drifting into depression, call CARE Services for more suggestions and an individual or family appointment, 643-7754.
For information on 12-step meetings happening on campus and locally, check the schedule online through Infocal (select Health Services/CARE Services/Support Groups) or you may request the schedule by calling CARE Services at 643-7754.
Luna Calderon, LCSW, is a professional counselor with CARE Services at the University Health Services.
Coming in January:
Help for Those Headaches.
Ken Goldberg, assistant professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, is one of 30 young professors nationwide selected as a 1995 Presidential Faculty Fellow, an honor that carries a grant of $100,000 a year in research funds for up to five years.
Goldberg, who came to Berkeley from USC in September, works on geometric algorithms for robotics and industrial applications. He will use the fellowship funding to support students and a new lab in Etcheverry Hall, where the work will focus on the design and control of assembly robots. The goal is to develop a small set of simple hardware elements that can be controlled and reconfigured by efficient hardware.
"Robots that recreate human methods of assembly can be highly flexible but are rarely efficient or cost effective," says Goldberg. "We're taking a more minimalist approach that favors simple, efficient hardware."
Goldberg also is interested in making robots and other manufacturing tools available on the World Wide Web. At USC he was co-director of the Tele-Garden, which allows viewers to tend a living garden remotely. The garden is accessible at http://www/usc.edu/dept/garden.
Goldberg was the only Berkeley faculty member to win the Presidential Faculty Fellow honor this year. The recipients also include one UC faculty member each from Irvine, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Barbara. The fellows will be honored by the White House and National Science Foundation at an upcoming event in Washington, D.C.
Amos Funkenstein, one of the world's most distinguished scholars of Jewish history, medieval intellectual history and history of science, died Nov. 11 in Berkeley at age 59. The cause of death was cancer.
Funkenstein was the Koret Professor of Jewish History and University Professor.
An intellectual of rare originality and erudition, Funkenstein's scholarship ranged from the Hebrew Bible and Greek philosophy to the 20th century. His first book examined Christian philosophies of history in the Middle Ages; in his next book he showed how the roots of the scientific revolution lay in medieval scholasticism; and in 1993 he published the summation of his wide-ranging studies in Jewish intellectual history. He also wrote extensively in Hebrew, including a book, co-authored with Adin Steinsaltz, "The Sociology of Ignorance." At the time of his death he had completed the bulk of a manuscript on "Turning Points in the Concept of Knowledge."
He was a teacher of warmth and generosity with a commitment to the intellectual growth of former students. More than 20 students completed doctorates under him, several of whom currently hold chairs in major American universities.
In his lectures--decribed by students as among their most remarkable intellectual experiences--he would ask questions of such power and originality that in several cases entire books were written by students inspired by the query.
Funkenstein was born in pre-state Israel in 1937 and educated at Ma'ael, a religious school in Jerusalem. In 1965 he received a PhD in medieval history at the Free University of Berlin, as one of the first Jewish students to receive a doctorate in Germany after World War II. Subsequently he divided his career between the faculties at UCLA and Tel Aviv University. In the past decade he served as the first Daniel E, Koshland Professor of Jewish Culture and History at Stanford before coming to Berkeley.
Earlier this year he was awarded the Israel Prize in History, the highest honor bestowed by the State of Israel.
In addition to his academic work, Funkenstein was an activist in the Israeli peace movement and in Israel intellectual life generally.
He is survived by his wife, Estie, and a son and daughter.
Development and Training
For more information, for copies of the 1995-96 Employee Development & Training catalog, or for information on how to enroll in classes, call 642-8134.
Financial Controls/Quantitative Analysis
Dec. 12 and 19, 8:30-11:30 am.
A six-hour workshop offering practical experience in financial control and quantitative analysis. Working with examples of university budget and financial data, participants will learn to identify and understand key data, and to present data effectively.
Interviewing and Selecting Employees
Dec. 20, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 pm .
An in-depth course to help supervisors develop skills for selecting the employee who will contribute to the successful achievement of the department's objectives.
New Employee Orientation
Jan. 9, 8:30 am-noon.
This program offers new employees the opportunity to learn about the university and the Berkeley campus, meet other new employees, and obtain a variety of helpful and necessary information.
Deans and directors memos are available on Infocal under "campus directives." Connect to Infocal via Gopher, WWW or telnet software at: infocal.berkeley.edu.
For dialup instructions or assistance using Infocal, call 642-8507.
The following is a list of recent memos. Questions about memos should be directed to Aileen Kim, 642-3100, or email: aileen_kim@ maillink.
Nov. 8. Regarding Legal Challenge to Proposition 187, from Chancellor Tien.
Nov. 14. National Science Foundation Funding for Research Instrumentation, from Joseph Cerny, vice chancellor-research.
Nov. 15. 1995-96 Directory of Research Units, from Joseph Cerny, vice chancellor-research.
Nov. 17. Christmas Tree Safety, from Horace Mitchell, vice chancellor--business and administrative services.
Nov. 21. Mentors for SF Unified School District, from Carol Christ, the vice chancellor and provost.