Dealing with the holiday stress


Tis the Season to be… stressed out!  What’s worse than getting angry when you hear a cheerful holiday tune?  How about when you hear someone shout, “Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas,” and all you can do is mumble a not-so-nicety under your breath.  Maybe you don’t have your “Grinchy” days during the holiday season, but I sure do!  If you’re with me, I can give you a few suggestions as to how I cope.  Perhaps they’ll help you, too. 

When I used to work in the school system, I used to have people tell me all the time how patient I was.  If I had a dime for every time someone said, “You must have a tremendous amount of patience to be able to do what you do,” I’d be a happily retired stay at home mom.  The truth is, I’m not a patient person at all.  I’m actually quite high-strung and I get frustrated rather easily.  I think this may be one of the reasons I exercise so much.  It gets a lot of it out of my system. 

During the holidays, I tend to “lose it” a little more than I’d like to.  There so much to do and so little time.  Doing all of our holiday cards, all of the Christmas shopping for our family, trying to decorate, keeping the house clean and staying on top of the laundry while attending party after party… You get the idea!  You’re probably doing most of or much of this, as well.  So, how do we try to minimize the stress that all of the added things bring to us.  Me?  I exercise a little more, in different ways.

When driving to do my Christmas shopping, it’s inevitable that someone will frustrate me, whether it be a driver who’s clueless (because I know I’m one of the few with a clue out on the road, right?) or a clerk who isn’t the most jovial.  How do I combat the frustration? 

When I get to my destination, I park a little further away and walk briskly to door.  When I leave a store a little miffed, I may run up/down the stairs or escalator to get a little of the happier adrenaline pumpin’.  After a long drive home from the mall, I put on gloves, a warm coat and hat and take my 70 pound puppy for a fast, stress decompressing walk around the neighborhood.  It’s amazing how these little things can make you feel that much better.

Finally, a piece of the “staying less stressed around the holidays” puzzle that I find to be extremely important… convince yourself to just BE HAPPY.  If someone makes you angry, smile, don’t sweat it.  If you have to wait a little longer in line than you’d like, take the time to think about the joy the gift you’re buying will bring.  If someone cuts you off on York Rd. (Oh, it’ll happen many times this season), just give ‘em a wave and say, “Happy Holidays,” with a smile.  Not sweating the little things will bring you less stress, I promise!

Enjoy the time leading up to the holidays.  Breathe in the chilly air, take time to look at the beautiful lights, maybe by taking a nice long, bundled up walk with the family, smile at the passers-by and remember it takes less effort to be happy than it does to be angry. 

Carri Nelsen of Gold’s Gym in Shrewsbury.

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One Response to Dealing with the holiday stress

  1. Kate Kresse says:

    wonderful advice…i love the part about thinking of the joy the gift will bring the recipient.

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