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7 Types of Stress: Holiday Survival Guide

Photo by Alan Cleaver on Flickr.

While great fun, the holidays can be a stressful time of year. This post is a reminder that we can slow down, take time for ourselves and that we may need to do so more than ever right now. In fact, it is what these contemplative winter celebrations were originally intended for prior to their extreme commercialization.

Still, the modern questions remain. How to cope with stress during the holidays? How do we invite healing into our lives during this time of year?

I often say that when it comes to healing, “there is no formula.”  However, I have cultivated specific habits that serve my healing well. Now I listen to my body which means establishing boundaries with myself.

Along the way to physical deterioration, I didn’t listen –a product of my own incongruence and wishful thinking.  I wished I was in better overall health and condition than I really was. Now I stop and remember –just because I can do it, doesn’t mean it’s good for me. That’s a good boundary for me.  My new discipline is to be a bit under-active.  Stop whatever it is I am doing before I am fatigued –a useful rule of thumb for the holidays.

Below are a few common types which we can be mindful of year round and especially now:

  1. poor eating habits -processed foods, high sugar consumption, foods with hormones and antibiotics
  2. food allergies -eating food that makes your body go into a defensive mode
  3. emotional stress -toxic relationships, interactions and thought processing
  4. sleep deprivation -that’s key for me, I need 9 hours per night minimum, and have since childhood
  5. lack of exercise -I remember years of sitting in my office, not giving my body ample time to move
  6. over exercise -I recall years of running 5 miles a day, not best type of movement for my constitution
  7. toxic exposures -pesticides, mercury, heavy metals, parabens, BPA, and more

Stress adds up and chips away at our well being, until we find ourselves in ill health. Years of stress can get us to a point of (what seems like) no return.

I remember after my diagnosis, I was inconsolable (though that’s another story). It took tons of patience and dedication (the dedication to slow down and become competitive about things like sleeping, rather than my more preferred modes of accomplishment).  I had to fool my monkey mind. Patience helps me feel better, even feel good, and helps me to make the choices that serve me best.

To understand the diversity of choices in front of me, I had to slow down and simply listen. This is a gift that we can all give ourselves during the holiday season. So don’t wait until January to think about yourself and how you want to shift your life. You can give yourself the gift of self-care right now.