I’m no health expert. Trust me, I love chocolate and eat too much. I am addicted to sweets and eat too much. Although I stand most of the day rather than seated to work, exercise is something I commit my brain to and try to leave my body out of it. And stress? Well, I admit to my fair share. . .
Everyone is aware that the Christmas and holiday season is one of the most stressful for many folks – especially us women. And if we’re a small business owner, then the season may bring more than our fair share of stress. After all, we have the home fires to keep burning as well as the penchant for using the holiday season to make as much of a profit as possible going into a new year. So the stress component to life rises with each day of the countdown to December 25. Does it get any better from December 26 to the 31st? You tell me!
Having laid the groundwork alerting all that I’m not the resident expert on matters health, I do submit the following as ways to reduce Christmas and holiday stress:
1. MUSIC – The sounds of the season are absolutely magnificent. From classics like the “Messiah” to winter ‘carols’ we associate with the holidays. It’s been noted that listening (or playing) music reduces bodily functions that are dramatically impacted by increased stress. Blood pressure, heart rate and gastrointestinal issues that arise whether we’ve over indulged in holiday goodies or not. So as you continue to scurry about in order to get it all done; put on the music of the season and let it filter throughout your home, office – but especially your body! You’ll be better for it!
2. LOVED ONES – What is it about the Christmas season that draws us to our loved ones in ways that don’t happen other times of the year? While many folks complain about having to be in the presence of those we avoid all year long; the blessing of being with those most dear to us can be one of life’s healthiest activities.
This year, my daughters and at least one granddaughter are spending Sunday with each other. Yes, we’re going shopping in the quaint college town a few miles away and then a late lunch; but these items are not the reason. It’s simply to be together! It’s the “gift” I asked of them for Christmas. Making memories is something no thief can steal. And the cost is just like the Master Card ad – PRICELESS! And the stress reduction of turning focus away from everyday chores follows suit – Priceless as well!
3. MAKE MEMORIES – As I said above, memories are something no one can take from us. That is unless we suffer from dementia of any type. My friend has mixed dementia with possible Alzheimer’s, but long term memory is excellent. Thank PAPA he has made great memories to share (over and over again I might add lol). Some might say recalling pleasant memories of the past is “living in the past“, but so be it. If focusing on pleasant memories reduces the stress in our bodies – and minds, then I say. . . GO FOR IT!
4. HONESTY – the holiday season often conjures memories of those who have passed on. And those memories can be painful – because we miss them. We recall great times past when they were with us and we’re sad that is no longer the case. Doing so raises our internal stress and adds to our daily overload. Two things come to mind for handling the painful memories. . .
a. Let them hang out! Trying to stuff feelings of missing absent loved ones just adds layers to seasonal stress. It’s okay to let those feelings out. I recall the 1st Christmas after my husband died. I was putting up the Christmas tree by myself (something he had always done) and young daughters were complaining about everything (too small, too lopsided, too this, too that). Suddenly I flew into a rage, yanked the lights and tinsel off before falling to the ground shouting –
“Dammit, why did you have to die!” Once through the ‘primal scream’ episode, I noticed small stunned faces looking at me from the doorway.
“It’s okay Mommy, the tree is okay” was the chorus they sang, eager to learn that their Mommy wasn’t going to leave them too. Moral of story – we had a good cry; lots of laughter and finished decorating the tree together. And the stress of that 1st lonely season rolled away in those moments.
b. Find a friend who will listen and let those feelings hang out. Cry, laugh, shout – whatever it takes to make it “okay” again!
My, my I’ve rambled on – caught up in my own memories of Christmas “war stories”. But hopefully you get my point. Finding ways to relieve our Christmas stress may vary from woman to woman; but the above are universally accepted ways to do so. Discover the MUSIC that brings delight to your soul and play it. Deliberately set out to make pleasant memories that no one can take away – ever.
Finally, let honest but safe expressions of Christmas season feelings flow from you to a best friend who will listen and commiserate. I guarantee you’ll experience the flowing out of stress – and the flowing in of the joy of the season!
Linda S. Fitzgerald, Visionary Partner
Champion of Ordinarily Extraordinary Women of the World
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/2382941337/pjm5n494765lxfks49h7_400x400.jpeg[/author_image] [author_info]My passion is to see women become all they are designed to be – personally and professionally. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness.[/author_info] [/author]