Be kind to yourself this Christmas

Published: Saturday | December 8, 2012 Comments 0

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Christmas Day is fast approaching, and the usual hustle and bustle is well under way. But with all this feverish activity, there is always a price to pay. It is the price that can play havoc on your physical and mental well-being. And it all comes down to one distressful word: stress.

The list of things to do seems endless - baking, cooking, general cleaning, gift-buying and wrapping, decorating, card-giving and party preparations. These mundane duties tend to heighten stress levels to such an extent that a person can become angry, irritable, frustrated, anxious, and downright sick.

Stress can be a motivating, inspiring and productive force, but prolonged stress can be debilitating and nerve-racking.

Feeling the Christmas stress

It is to be noted that in a recent survey, it was revealed that only financial problems come ahead of Christmas as a source of stress and worry. And it has also been reported that eight out of 10 people in the United States expect to be stressed out during this Christmas season.

It is often said that Christmas should be a very merry and jolly affair, but more and more, even the mere thought of Christmas conjures up a dreaded feeling of anxiety and morbid depression.

What are the possible causes for this state of affairs? Psychologists and sociologists have come up with hundreds of reasons, and have also put forth a wide array of solutions. But, simply put, I think the main source of this debilitating situation is the urge to please, and that this insatiable urge to please has engendered extremely high expectations, not only of oneself but of others.

Family get-togethers during the festive season can be either a time of healing and reconciliation, or a time when unresolved conflicts explode into open anger, bitterness and resentment. If the latter is the case, as a host or hostess, you should keep a cool head and avoid being caught up in an entangled web of disputes. Avoid pretentiousness and be yourself. Avoid the urge to please every relative or friend.

Remember that stress is entertaining in-laws and other people that you do not get along with. Stress is saying yes, when you should have said no. Stress is showing a fake smile. And stress is spending more than you can afford.

Avoid keeping up with appearances. Be yourself and be kind to yourself this Christmas.

RUPERT JOHNSON

r.b.johnson@sympatico.ca

Toronto, Canada

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