What About that Stress During the Holidays?

Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not. ~Valerie Bertinelli

When you think of the holidays, do you think of beautiful lights, eloquently wrapped packages, holiday music, Santa Claus and elves?  Or do you think of all the shopping, lack of time, money, cooking, cleaning, indecisiveness, how relatives and perceived conflicts from friends and relatives may?  Holidays can bring good spirits or dampen it.  Stressful times can be a very lonely time if remembering good times. However, it’s nice to think of alleviating stress from the season.

Stress Is Resistance to What is

At some point in my training, I remember someone saying “Stress is resistance to what is.”  Think about it.  What is it that you’re dealing with that you don’t like? Stress is nothing more than not accepting the way things are. Acceptance alleviates, and even eliminates, stress.  Perception is impressive.  However you see it, is the way it is.   And those perceptions determine how much stress you encounter.

Its not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it. ~Hans Selye

Holidays Triggers Depression and Anxiety But it Doesn’t Have to

Stress can create anxiety and/or depression.  And that can prevent “getting into” the holidays. Not everything needs to be “perfect.”  Enjoy the freedom of letting it go.  Perfection is individualized.  What one person thinks is perfect, another won’t see it the same way. I like the slang, “Whatever!”  It takes the pressure away.  Kelly McGonigal in this Ted Talk presentation, reminds us that “chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort.”

For certain individuals, stress isn’t the only negative of the holidays. For some, it’s a time to remember those who the person no longer has with them. It’s a lonely time. Depression is similar to stress in the fact that it’s only holding a person back. Sadness prevents living the moment. Depression acts an insulator just as stress does. However, ways to cope exist.. If you need to cry, sit in your bedroom and let it out.

Let’s Leave Negative Stress Out of this Season

  • Admit that something bothers you and focus on just getting through it.
  • Talk yourself through the problem and tell yourself how it’s not even truly an issue.
  • Reach out to those who are supportive
  • Focus solely on completing the task at hand rather than agonizing about what you can’t control.
  • Workout
  • Limit high fat and rich foods
  • Give and share
  • Practice positive self talk
  • Cry if you need to
  • Learn that it’s more important to enjoy the moment than to worry.
  • Enjoy the freedom of letting go.

Generally speaking, when professional guidance is sought, relief is usually experienced.  In chronic situations, the problem can become worse without professional intervention. Talk therapy can be helpful.