Sunday, December 17, 2017

Holiday Stress

It's that special time of year when many celebrations are taking place internationally across many cultures. Here are some of them:
  • Saint Nicholas Day (Christian)
  • Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican)
  • St. Lucia Day (Swedish)
  • Hanukkah (Jewish)
  • Christmas Day (Christian)
  • Three Kings Day/Epiphany (Christian)
  • Kwanzaa (African American)
  • Omisoka (Japanese)
  • Yule (Pagan)
  • Saturnalia (Pagan)
It is also that time of year when many people are depressed and lonely. I used to be one of these people so I know. While all the happy celebrations were going on around me with family gatherings and parties, I withdrew. People could tell I was withdrawn so I wasn't invited to very many events. At least I didn't have the obligations of cooking for a family or hosting a gathering where I'd have to choose between acting happy or expressing how I was really feeling.

For those who have lost one or more loved ones, a pet, a job, suffering financial hardship or homelessness, a relationship breakup, it is indeed a time of loneliness. Their loved one(s) and/or their safety net is no longer there. I feel for all the loss from recent hurricane devastation as well as close friends who have lost a husband, a grandchild, a mother, a pet.

For some, it is obvious just by looking at them. You can see the emptiness in their eyes and in their physical demeanor even if they smile. For others, they've become really good actors--something they don't give themselves credit for.

One of many definitions of stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.

The stress response can be felt whether you are experiencing excitement or its opposite.

Perhaps you are one of the people who feel you must perform your duties as a wife, mother, father, brother, sister, friend, or business owner even if it overrides your need to say no. You never do give yourself permission to say no or to ask for help so you burn yourself out.

Excitement can burn you out as well. Too much can strain your Adrenals and the result is Adrenal Fatigue which has numerous consequences.

In your efforts to prepare, decorate, cook, plan, and visit, sometimes partying until the wee hours of the morning, many are sleep deprived. The consequences of sleep deprivation are vast.

Add to the above all the sugar that you eat because somehow traditions of all kinds include a LOT of sugar! Sugar puts a strain on your immune system in addition to all of the above.

Memory doesn't work well when you are under stress which is why in an emergency you can't remember what to do. Some call this brain fog or a senior moment.

While you all are celebrating family and religious traditions, remember to smile at all the lonely people and offer them a gift of time and perhaps a long warm hug.

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