With the countdown well and truly on many of you will be now running around like headless- dare I say – turkeys? It seems easy to say, don’t let Christmas stress you out, but how on earth do you cope with:-
- Imminent invasion of extended family members who you have nothing in common with and are expecting a feast of Michelin starred repast
- The cat’s constant attack on the tree like it’s alive with the cast of Stuart Little
- Everything you ordered online has been delivered, but you have no idea where
- The supermarket Turkey seems to have originated from a country that you have never even heard of, and appears to be bigger than your oven
Firstly I would like to give you the bad news- you can’t eliminate all stress. Secondly – the good news- you can learn to manage it. Phew!
What is stress?
Although there are many causes of stress and everybody’s stress prompters are different, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are all bad. Stress sends signals to your body to react in a ‘fight or flight’ mode by releasing adrenaline, cortisol and nor-epinephrine into our system. It’s how we deal with this physical reaction that determines whether we manage stress, or stress manages us.
Causes of stress.
My take on the meaning of stress is that it is ‘a strain or pressure that can be emotional, mental, physical, skeletal, negative, or indeed, positive,’ and there are 3 main areas that contribute to this:-
- Home life
- Personal life
Take the home life, many people struggle with conflicting emotions over loving their family, but dreading spending hours on end with them over Christmas. At this time of year family disagreements, long running arguments tend to come to the boil, sometimes overshadowing the happiness of the festivities.
Do you find this season stressful because your personal life isn’t where you want it to be, and you are either spending it with someone you don’t want to, or spending it alone. Does this time of year highlight how unfulfilled you are in your relationships with people, family, friends and partners?
Is someone at work making you feel pressured over tasks that may not be down to you. Do the credit card present bills highlight your financial situation and how you never have enough! Or does this time of year expose how your job isn’t fulfilling your life’s purpose?
How to handle stress
There are many stress prevention techniques, and my book, ‘A Stress free Christmas’ shows you how to manage your stress via several methods. Admittedly on first look you may think I had been at the Eggnog when I wrote them, but all I’ll say is, “I was given these techniques from very successful people, these techniques work for them, so I’m sure they will work for you too.”
Sometimes simply switching focus on something else can relieve stress and my Power Hour certainly helps this. Set an alarm to go off on the hour and when it does, stop what you are doing and take a few seconds to deep breathe, relax, walk around or do something to break concentration and change the mood. Simple tip, but highly effective.
Finally let’s understand that life in this day and age is full of testing, stressful situations but without a little bit of stress I’m not sure life would be that interesting. So embracing gratitude and looking at things with perspective goes a long way to lifting stress.
- you’re stressing about the size of the Turkey, be grateful you have a family large enough to warrant a bird that big
- annoyed that you have to work Christmas Eve, be grateful for a job that provides you with a home, car, presents etc
- everything you ordered online is the wrong size, shape or colour. Be grateful it can all be sent back and you don’t have to stand for 2 hours in a customer service queue packed with people returning Reindeer onesies.
Dealing with stress, preventing stress and understanding stress will not only make your Christmas sparkle but will help your life become more fulfilled and harmonious.
For more stress busting tips and strategies take a look at my website- davidhyner.com
Merry Christmas everyone .
Images by Fernando_Villadangos