December 2


3 Holiday Warning Bells of Stress

By Sue Ingebretson

December 2, 2014

anticipation, anxiety, bells, Christmas, depression, expectations, Holidays, isolation, loneliness, planning, sadness, Stress, trigger, triggers, warning

Do you think sidestepping stress is as easy as hopscotching across a minefield? Stress is everywhere, after all. But just as Westley and Buttercup successfully navigated the Princess Bride Fire Swamps … it can be done! When it comes to stress, there are warning bells that portend danger.


Ding dong -watch out!


In order to avoid something, we FIRST have to do a bit of investigating to learn something about the subject. We need to know WHAT triggers our stress in order to avoid it.


At this time of year, here are 3 significant Stress Triggers to bring to our awareness.




Expectations We all have our own versions of the perfect holiday. Whether it’s a Currier and Ives picture postcard vision, a scene from a movie set, or a combination of childhood sentimental memories – our expectations are often unrealistic. That doesn’t mean that they’re wrong. However, if our expectations are not met, that can add to feelings of depression, anxiety, sadness and emotions leading to trigger #2.




Isolation – When we feel lost in our own memories, experiences, and dreams of what this holiday “should be,” we can feel extremely alone. No one else’s idea of a “perfect” holiday could possibly match our own. Watching holiday movies, joining in festive activities such as baking, shopping, and decorating are best done in good company.


Of course, that’s not always possible. Having no support system (or having the perception of no support system) leads to increased depression, sadness, frustration, unmet expectations, and an increase in trigger #3.




Anxiety – I can actually define this trigger in one word – lack. We feel increased anxiety because of a real or perceived lack of money, time, or personal resources.


It’s easy to see how anxiety is amplified by trigger #1 and trigger #2.


So, how can you tell if your warning bells are ringing? It’s common for most of us to ignore increased symptoms. We’re trained in the fine art of “ignore it and it’ll go away.” (Pssst … in case you were wondering, that technique won’t work.)


Instead – take a multi-pronged approach. Here’s what to do:


BODY:  Pay attention to what your body tells you. Do you feel a clenching in your jaw, your upper neck/shoulders or your stomach? Do you feel dizzy, exhausted, confused, or even nauseous? For holiday-related symptoms, take heed, take a break, take stock, and if needed … take a nap.


MIND: Pay attention to what your mind says. Are you experiencing spinning thoughts, lack of focus, and an overwhelming sense of exhaustion? Pay attention to what PRECEDES that feeling. Were you thinking about getting all the holiday cards addressed? Maybe the shopping, decorating, and baking that’s yet to do?


One way to address the type of fatigue that comes from feeling overwhelmed is with a little pre-planning.


You CAN do something

about your personal energy crisis!


Listen to the warning bells of stress and take action. Planning ahead can be as simple as using the tips found in this post, Taming Your Holiday Fibro Frenzy (and no, you do not have to have fibromyalgia to find stress solutions here). 


There you have it! Do you hear the jingle jangle of warning bells in your ears? If so, then you’re just like every reader in this community. Share your favorite Holiday planning and organization tips below. We love hearing from you!


Feeling stressed out? Want to know more? Find out YOUR Stress Profile by downloading this stress-lessFREE  Is STRESS Making You Sick?-  guide here!

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