It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it • Hans Selye
Stress is probably one of the most underestimated holiday “companions” we may ever encounter. While the Holiday Season is meant to be a time of love, warmth and cheerfulness, it usually turns out to be the most stressful time of the year. And although we celebrate every year, the Holiday Season seems to always take us by surprise year after year
Since holiday stress is predictable and avoidable, why, after all the preparations are finished and the first dinner guests appear at the door, some of us feel little joy and are about to collapse from plain exhaustion?
What is stress?
Stress is the body’s natural response to intense situations that require some kind of action on the part of the individual. Some stress is considered to be good. Experts say that it can actually improve our immune system. Bad stress, however, weakens the body’s immune response and may cause a range of health problems such as sleep disorder, weight gain, heart problems, impaired digestion. An untreated, prolonged or chronic stress may even have deadly consequences.
Is there anything that we can do to avoid stress before the Holidays?
Keeping an eye on your budget, mailing Christmas cards and buying gifts early, buying online, preparing a Christmas dinner menu in advance, hiring catering service, delegating tasks to family members, etc., are some of the strategies worth embracing if we want to avoid unnecessary stress. But even if we do, we may still worry that the gifts might not be delivered on time or that someone forgets what we asked them to do.
The very fact that we still have to oversee all the preparations of the festive dinner makes the “delegating business” just as stressful as doing everything oneself. No matter what we do, stress and anxiety seem unavoidable as there always is a chance that things will go wrong. The vision of impending catastrophe is almost comical and yet, not funny at all.
So, if the Holiday stress seems unavoidable, why not give yourself a gift of relaxation? Schedule an early afternoon visit to a spa and pamper yourself. Take a bath after a long day of Christmas shopping. Light some scented candles and listen to a quiet, relaxing music. Have a cup of hot chocolate or some calming herbal infusion. Go to bed early. Relax and don’t let the stress ruin your Holidays.
We function much better when we are relaxed. Our memory improves and we are in a much better mood.
Plan ahead, but remember that things do not have to be perfect. Holidays are about joy and not about perfection. Maybe it is time to simplify the way you celebrate Holidays.