Dealing With Holiday Stress

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The Christmas season is a wonderful time to catch up with family and friends and enjoy the spirit of the holidays. Unfortunately, the downside to that is there can be a TON of stress around this season as well.  Whether it is finding the perfect gift for your loved ones, financial issues, or the stress of a loved one’s health problems, a joyous time always seems to have a little hint of stress that comes along with it. What’s important is how we deal with the stress. How do we put the added baggage aside to make sure what is supposed to be a joyous time is just that?

The answer to that will be different for everyone as each person has their own coping mechanisms. Some choose to talk it out with friends, some choose to ignore everything, or just power through whatever they are going through. The important thing to remember during this time is that the Christmas season is such a small time period, its important to not do or say anything during a difficult time that can have permanent repercussions on the relationships we hold with others.

Not to get too personal, but sometimes insight into how we deal with things can help others. Recently, I had a close loved one fall ill with appendicitis. It was an issue that became more complicated over time and turned out to not be a simple appendix removal and required multiple surgeries over three weeks. Things are finally on the mend now; however, it was very touch and go for a long time. Aside from the loved one who is ailing, things like this impact a lot of people. My family, friends, and coworkers are all impacted by it and all of them react differently. Some can be angry, others worried, and others stressed. My focus during this time is to try not to create more added stress to an already tight situation.

In my day job, we like to say we have to wear many hats because we can get calls from people for a variety of reasons and have to be knowledgeable of many different areas in order to assist. I tried to apply that same mentality during this situation. While the affected loved one was dealing with a fairly serious medical issue, my concern was never really about her getting better and healing. Modern medicine is advanced enough that athletes can come back from ACL tears and be just as good as they were before, if not better, so the appendectomy while stressful enough, was really not my cause for concern. Rather, it was how my family members were handling it.  I have really tried to adapt and be whatever the person on the other end needs from me. Whether it is just an ear to listen and let them vent, or someone to spitball ideas off of, I have tried to be available to anyone who needs to talk. I told Jess, that I can compartmentalize what is going on myself and prefer not to talk about it but just remain updated and be there for whoever needs me. A lot is said in the workplace about communication being important, but sometimes we forget to apply that to other aspects of life. Sometimes we get so bogged down with normal life that we forget to update everyone on what we know and yes, I know it is an excuse. Who knows, maybe being a more effective communicator is the 2019 New Year’s resolution that I probably won’t achieve.

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Enough of the depressing stuff. How do we overcome the stress of the holidays? I can only speak for myself by saying that I generally try to avoid the stress entirely. How do I do this? Keeping busy and being creative. Throughout this time, I have taken a dive back into making music. This time focusing on learning and trying new ways to cover some of my favorite songs. This has given me the opportunity to reconnect with friends from high school and helped me learn how to play guitar better. I have also worked on designing things, mainly photoshopping my face onto Star Wars characters. Silly, I know, but so much fun to do, especially when its putting my face on Princess Leia’s body(I will keep that photo to myself… for now). Lastly, I have focused on Christmas gifts, getting people things they either want or will 100% use, and making sure my wife has one of the best Christmas’s evahhhhh! Keeping my mind preoccupied has helped me not get overworked by everything that has been going on this holiday season.

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What has stressed you out this holiday season? More importantly, what have you done to not get bogged down by it all? Let me know in the comments below, on Twitter, or on Facebook and please have a Merry Christmas!