Image © Pontuse/Dreamstime
If you're anything like me and find your ulcer erupting as people speak of "finishing up" their holiday shopping - and haven't even started - this blog is for you. A 2008 study in Copenhagen, Denmark showed definitively that women with stress have an increased risk of developing colon cancer. This season will pass - the gifts and cards will work themselves out - but the effects of the stress might be long lasting.
Kissing Stress Goodbye
Try these seven simple steps the next time you feel the holiday stress unraveling your fair mood:
- Take a deep breath. It's not a cliche, it's a true and tried method. When stress strikes, your nervous system speeds all of your bodily functions up - including your heart rate and breathing. By consciously slowing down the one function you can control - your breathing - you can effectively reset your stress response.
- Reframe the event. By this, I mean deciding if this is a life-threatening concern, or just something silly that can be brushed off. Forgetting to send off holiday cards or burning Santa's cookies can be laughed at later.
- Do something nice for someone - this includes taking care of yourself.
- Stop and enjoy the beauty of the moment. That snowflake your son is trying to show you will melt quickly - the work on your laptop can wait a few minutes.
- Consider meditation. You don't have to dress in fancy robes, sit in the Lotus position or burn insence - meditation simply means turning off your brain for a few moments. At some point during the day - preferably not when you're driving or operating heavy machinery - let your mind wander and focus on everything but your stressors.
- Indulge in moderation. Healthy eating and living is as important this time of the year as any, but you don't have to exclude holiday traditional foods. The keyword is moderation; you can eat latkes, cookies, or whatever food your family traditions entail in small amounts.
- Spend time with those people you love. Even if they are hundreds of miles away, technology today is amazing - a phone can facilitate a face to face video chat or a simple, old-fashioned phone call can lift the spirits.