Stress During The Holidays
The Christmas and New Year's Holiday season should be a time of peace, love and joy. As
Christians, we should also spend additional time reflecting on the true meaning of Christmas,
that of the birth of the Messiah, the real true hope for all mankind.
unrealistic expectations combined with financial limits can cause high levels of stress
during this time. Many experts believe that psychological stress suppresses
the immune system. As a result, we are much more likely to become ill
during the holidays - and to remain ill for a longer time.
Having experienced and lived through just such trials with the illness of my
late mother, (Alzheimer's) and the stress it placed on our family, I can
testify that they have a very valid point.
The primary cause of holiday stress is
unrealistic expectations. So, take it easy on yourself and others by accepting that your
house, gifts, activities, and food may not be perfect.
minimize the stress during holidays, here are some practical
stress-busting suggestions that I hope will be helpful as a starting point
for a healthier holiday season.
GIVE GIFTS FROM THE
Instead of blowing
your budget, why not please friends and family members with a simple gesture or token from
the heart? Holiday cookies and decorations, a poem - even a kind word- are often the most
meaningful gifts of all.
TO SAY "NO"
You don't have to attend every party or volunteer at every
holiday function. Allow yourself time to relax and you'll get more done overall.
Admittedly, this has been the most difficult for me, personally, to put into
action. When friends ask for "just a few minutes of your time", it really is
difficult to say "no", but each of us should learn this important tool of
self preservation. As my pastor has tried to teach me, the jobs were being
done before I was born, and they
WILL get done, even after I'm gone.
GET AWAY FROM THAT SCREEN!!!!!!!!!!
There is a
strong draw for most of us to want to be "connected"; but if you spend the
just the average American's time at a screen of some device, you are robbing
yourself and your family of precious time you will never recover. Who cares
what some Hollywood actor says? Why allow a mythological character to
"steal" your Christmas? Why allow the media to do your thinking for you with
alarmist news stories about events that are not in your control?
Instead, why not open that precious book (the Holy Bible), and reread the
Christmas story; and then to put it all in perspective, reread the Easter
story to remind yourself of the most precious gift of all. The birth of
Jesus, God becoming man, is just the beginning of the story. And if you
really want to lift your spirit, keep reading. (If you're like me, I
sometimes like to skip a little ahead in a story, and I've read to the back
of the book and we win!)
These are not original ideas. No doubt they were all introduced into my
thinking by others, but the point is not who thought of them first. The
important thing is that these precepts can help you have a better life year
round. Take a hard look at what's really important this holiday season and
set your priorities (including getting plenty of rest).
That way, you'll make it a more special time for the person whose life you
can control the easiest - yourself!
Here's praying that no matter how you
choose to spend your time that you have
a blessed, Christ - filled Christmas, and the
best New Year ever. Ron H
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