Monday Myth … between the perfect gifts, decorations, 5-course meals and finding the best deals on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, having a ‘successful’ holiday season produces stress.
Fact: Holidays don’t produce stress … your choices do.
While each of the things mentioned above is good and can add to your enjoyment of the season … none of them is important enough to allow them to add dangerous stress to your health. While certain types/degrees of stress can strengthen us—walking 10 minutes farther, memorizing poems, setting reasonable deadlines—anxiety-producing stress can harm us.
We’ve heard it said before, but it needs repeating … stress kills!
Research suggests that 60-90% of health issues are caused by or exacerbated by unhealthy stress. Because life isn’t perfect, we all have some of the signs/symptoms below at any given time … but if any of them get worse during the holidays, you may be making choices that are creating stress.
- Memory problems
- Inability to concentrate
- Poor judgment
- Seeing only the negative
- Anxious or racing thoughts
- Constant worrying
- Irritability or short temper
- Agitation, inability to relax
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Sense of loneliness and isolation
- Depression or general unhappiness
- Aches and pains
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Nausea, dizziness
- Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
- Loss of sex drive
- Frequent colds
- Eating more or less
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Isolating yourself from others
- Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
- Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
- Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)
As you think about the coming weeks … will you do what you do out of a healthy place of love and strength because you want to create a memorable holiday season for yourself and others? Or are you doing them out of a need to validate yourself and/or impress others?
Meditate on the fact that things/events/etc. don’t add any value to who you are as a person.
You are enough … simply for being you.
Even if everyone else buys huge gifts for everyone else … why do you have to? Especially if you can’t afford it.
Even if everyone else has a zillion lights/decorations/etc … why do you have to? Especially if you don’t have the time, money or energy to do it.
Even if everyone’s kids have new homemade pjs for Christmas morning … why do yours have to? Especially if you’ve never sewed before.
It’s your choice.
Again none of the holiday traditions are bad (unless they’re bad … like eating or drinking too much) most of them are quite lovely and if you have time/money/energy on your hands… then by all means celebrate the season to the hilt.
But if necessary, adapting a less is more attitude could help you make wiser choices and will decrease the stress in your life.
Because making choices that will add unnecessary stress to your life seems kind of counter-productive to the whole meaning of the season … doesn’t it?
What tips do you have for making wise choices to reduce stress, especially during the holidays?