Recently I was sitting at one of my favourite cafes `people watching’ and relaxing with a pot of peppermint tea. There in the mall, with a backdrop of fantastic Christmas decorations and Christmas music, was a continuous stream of people rushing by….most with some expression of pain either on their face, in the way they walked, or in the way they related to others. Most were obviously shopping for Christmas and it was clear that this was one of life’s stressful situations for them.
Most of us would agree that Christmas can be a stressful time. And we are well aware of the negative effects that chronic stress can have on our health. (Chronic stress refers to the continuous challenges without a break. It produces high cortisol levels – levels that don’t ebb and flow in the normal pattern.) With time this leads to stress symptoms which can include:
- disturbed sleep,
- gut upsets,
- high blood pressure,
- being overly emotional,
- eating too much (or too little)
- neglecting responsibilities,
- feeling overwhelmed,
- aches and pains,
- racing heart,
- anxiety……. and more.
You don’t want any of these to come and spoil this wonderful time of the year. And the good news is that you can take very practical steps to avoid that happening.
One of the things that can be very helpful in dealing with the life stressors of the season is to take step back and gain a fresh perspective on them. Two very simple steps can help in this process:
- Identify the immediate stressors
- Make a plan to confront and deal with each of them
Easier said than done? Let’s get started…..
1. Take some time to yourself (even 15 minutes is better than none at all), grab a cup of tea, pen and paper and get writing. (You could even write them here in the comments section is you’d like to share them.)
2. Make a list of all the things that cause you stress at Christmas time. Don’t spend time thinking about the various things. For today all you have to do is just identify them. Tomorrow we’ll talk more about how to deal with the things you put on the list, so have your list ready and we’ll see you then.