Understanding Holiday Stress

As we once again enter into the holiday season, it may be for some of us a time of significant stress, a time during which family conflicts escalate, a time when painful childhood memories intrude, or, a time when the loss of a loved one aches more profoundly. It is also a time when we risk losing our spiritual perspective to the pressures of buying the latest gadget, or toy, or the most expensive athletic shoe. The focus on that which really matters- the significance of the birth of Jesus-has greater importance than getting the turkey cooked or getting to the store to see if there are any Game Boys left. As such, many of us reach Christmas evening season exhausted and depressed. According to the American Institute of Stress, more than 110 million Americans take medication for stress related causes each week. When the holidays come along, people already predisposed to stress can find themselves feeling blue and more stressed out than usual. For those who don’t ordinarily feel stressed under the pressure of events or deadlines, the holidays can still play havoc with our lives. So what can we do? Plan for stress, say the experts, just like you plan ahead for any calamity you want to avoid. And for some of us that may involve dealing with the healing process of someone we lost to death.

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