Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas "Is" Perfect

"Stress is when you wake up screaming and you realize you haven't fallen asleep yet." -Author Unknown

You know it is going to happen next Monday when you wake up from a weekend of office Christmas parties. You will suddenly realize that you are not even close to being ready for Christmas Day. The pressure of knowing that family and friends will be arriving in just a few short days.

You might look at your bank budget and see that very little is left. One string of lights on the Christmas tree just went out and no cookies have been baked yet. The growing tension inside of you is starting to bubble to the surface.

When it seems that all of your Christmas bulbs are going to burn out, stop, relax and let it go. Christmas is not meant for us to make perfect. Christmas "is" perfect in all manners that we experience it.

All of that stress, anxiety, and depression are common during a holiday season. If nothing else, reassure yourself that these feelings are normal. So again, relax.

Some tips I collected from various health organizations that will help you deal with Christmas stress or any other kind of stress are;

- If there is still shopping to do, try to do all your shopping on one day. It focuses the mind. Shop via the Internet to avoid crowds, lines and parking problems.

- If you do go shopping, don't stop for coffee. Caffeine makes the body release cortisol, which is a stress hormone and leaves you feeling tense. Instead take a bottle of water with you.

- When you are in a line, breath in for four counts, hold it for 16 counts, then breath out for eight counts. This will boost levels of serotonin in your brain.

- Don't expect miracles. If you and certain family members bicker all year long, you can be sure there will be tension at Christmas gatherings. So avoid the known triggers. In example, if politics is a touchy subject in your family, don't talk about it. If someone brings up the topic, use distraction and quickly move on to something else to talk about.

- Use relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or focusing on your breath to cope with anxiety or tension.

- Family members involved in after-lunch activities (such as football, Frisbee or something else on the back lawn) are less likely to get into arguments. Plan for something to do as a group after lunch if necessary.

- People under stress tend to 'self-medicate' with alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs. Try to remember that drugs can't solve problems or alleviate stress in the long term.

Above all, stay calm and carry on. It is the holiday season and it should be a happy time for you and those around you. Choose to be happy and cheerful in attitude. Remember that this is Christmas and it "is" perfect already.

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