Food for thought

Holiday stress? Sounds like an oxymoron, but for many people Christmas brings on a great deal of anxiety and stress. What causes this condition?

  • Unhappy memories. Going home for the holidays naturally makes people remember the old times, but sometimes the memories may be more bitter than sweet. Make some new memories. Do something kind for another person and shift your way of thinking. The flood of endorphins your body produces will help you push unhappy memories into the background. Remember, you are in charge of your mind.
  • Toxic relatives. Holidays can put you in the same room with relatives you avoid for the rest of the year. So, why are you there? To please someone else? So you don’t make waves? Be courageous and practice saying NO, and don’t attend functions that make you miserable.
  • What’s changed. The holidays can highlight everything that’s changed in our lives – a death in the family, a divorce, a move to a different city or town. Well, it’s true, things change and changes can make us unhappy. Prepare in advance, give yourself some activities to enjoy along the way and remember, stay calm because 24 hours can only last 24 hours.
  • What hasn’t changed. For some the monotonous sameness of family holiday gatherings make them feel down and out of sorts. So, be a catalyst for change, try something new yourself and don’t depend on others to take the lead. Google fun family activities, come up with your own idea and see how it flies.
  • Lowered defenses. Stress contributes to illness and when your immune system is under assault, watch out. The cold and flu bugs are just waiting to invade. Drink lots of water, meditate, walk by the ocean and enjoy those negative ions. Use some good self-talk and concentrate on what is good instead of not so good in your life.

Glib answers perhaps, but each of us in in control of our own destinies and the thoughts that we manifest either add to our happiness or make us miserable. This Christmas season take a look around. Where can you help out? Go hang a wreath on someone’s door, offer to walk their dog, take some home baking to the seniors centre. Take a walk in the rain, sing at the top of your lungs, laugh with a child, pick up some garbage. And remember the old time adage: If you can’t get out of it, You might as well get into it!

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