Now that November is here,
it wonít be long until the holiday season starts.
Thanksgiving is just the kick-off for a busy season that
includes Hanukkah, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Boxing Day,
Kwanzaa (click on www.globalindex.com/kwanzaa/
to find out about this African-American holiday), and finally, New
Yearís Eve and New Yearís Day.
And Muslims around the world will be observing the Fast of
Ramadan, a time of worship and contemplation for them and a time
to strengthen connections among family and with the community.
(For more information about this very holy time and about
the faith of Islam visit www.holidays.net/ramadan/.)
Although the coming
days and weeks can be filled with lots of fun and times together
with friends and family, it can be a time when we sometimes find
ourselves over committed, over tired, and over budget.
All this can add up to feelings of stress, tension, and
Experts suggest that
the days and weeks leading up to the holiday season are a good
time to begin planning stress management strategies for handling
seasonal stress. In planning for stress, there are several things to consider.
Start by identifying what you are feeling most anxious
about Ė is it going over budget, spending time with in-laws,
managing blended families, or feeling the need to find the perfect
gift for everyone? Reflect
on your attitude Ė do you see things as small, medium, or big
problems? Do you
assign minor problems more weight than is warranted?
Finally, when problem solving, look for options and
possibilities, not restrictions and limitations.
Listed below are a
number of different ways you can reduce your stress level during
the coming holiday season.
some exercise 3 Ė 4 times a week, if possible.
back on fat, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine. Eat lots of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.
holiday gift-giving, decorations, baking, entertaining, etc.
Assign priorities to events and traditions.
Let go of those things that arenít that important to
worry about things you canít control.
Focus your attention on what you can influence and
your sleep. It is
much harder to cope with stressful days when we are
realistic when it comes to family gatherings.
Letís face it Ė does anyone have those Hallmark
Greeting Card family experiences we see reflected in their TV
realistic expectations when anticipating spending time with
over spend on gift giving. Make a realistic budget and stick to it.
If you have a large, extended family, draw names for
gift giving rather than buying individual gifts for everyone.
over commit yourself. Agree
to those activities and events that are important to you and
that are meaningful. If
you need to think about it, say that youíll get back to
someone instead of accepting an invitation on the spot.
humour to lighten up.
your favourite way to beat holiday stress?
Let us know by sending us an e-mail (click on the Womenís
Issues e-mail address below).
Weíll share your suggestions with Global Village readers
in our December Womenís Issues column (be sure to let us know if
itís OK to use your Forum name and the country and/or region
where you are from).
While youíre at
it, tell us what your favourite holiday tradition is and how
people from your part of the world celebrate the holidays.
What makes a holiday special for you?
What is the thing you look forward to most of all?
What special foods do you love to prepare and/or eat?
What customs are cherished and add meaning to your holiday?
Weíll share your thoughts and ideas with Global Village
readers next month. We
hope that our December column will have international
representation from the many Forum members around the world!
For more information
about managing seasonal stress click on the websites below.
For some common
sense stress reduction strategies check out
offers tips for reducing stress for parents and kids and can be
Another site with
some excellent suggestions regarding children, holidays, and
stress management is
A wealth of
information can be found at www.drkoop.com/wellness/seasonal/holiday/
Information on several
topics is offered, including preparing kids for holiday visits,
managing seasonal stepfamily stress, shopping and gift giving,
handling holiday eating, and holiday safety.
discusses why the holiday season can be stressful and create
feelings of loneliness. This
site offers a self-inventory checklist to assess if loneliness is
a problem, and contains suggestions for building and maintaining
effective support networks and developing an action plan for
reducing holiday loneliness and stress.
This site also has many links to informative articles on
depression and anxiety disorders.
For several practical
suggestions regarding organizing your time and additional tasks
and activities check out www.stress-management-isma.org/1298feature.html.
contains numerous articles in the categories of fitness,
nutrition, mind and body, and family and home.