Friday, 13 November 2015

Coping With Stress at Christmas



With Christmas just around the corner, many people are racking their brains trying to figure out what gifts to give to everyone. Finding the time to shop on top of all the other daily stresses we encounter just adds to our dilemma. (No, I am not going to try and sell you products here or give you gift ideas.)

Holidays bring about their own added stress with all the shopping and party going that must be done.  For some it is the straw that breaks the camels back so before it arrives we must be prepared to cope with it.

Stress is an inevitable part of life. We will never be able to get rid of it completely. In fact, you wouldn’t want to get rid of it completely because, believe it or not, stress is also good for you. Stress revs up our internal engines and makes us ready to take action. The problems arise when we don’t take care of the situations at hand.  This keeps our engines running but we are not going anywhere. Life is not meant to be lived as a Formula 1 Race.

Lily Tomlin once said, “Some people say life is a rat race.  If we take that attitude, then even if you win, you are still a rat”.

Life doesn’t have to be a rat race.  We can learn to live with stress as we learn to allow balance into our lives.

How can we cope with stress?

The first step in coping with stress is to be sure that we get enough sleep.  This is the first area that people fail in.  They feel that because there is so much to do they need to cut back on sleep in order to get more time in their day. This is a never-ending devil’s circle because the less sleep we have the more tired we are and the less able to cope and then the more stress we feel.

Dealing with stress does not depend on the quantity of time we have but on the quality. If we are well rested we are clear headed and able to come up with solutions to our problems. If we are overtired we will accomplish little and keep going in circles.

Try and find a balance in your sleep cycle. Go to bed the same time each night and get yourself into a routine that your body can count on.

So rule #1  Get more sleep.

Rule #2 Eat a balanced diet.

What does diet have to do with stress?  Everything!  Our bodies need to run as a well tuned engine.  If we feed it crap you will feel like crap.  You need a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables and lots of water to keep running well.

Rule #3 Stop Procrastinating

Procrastination is the biggest stress producer. If you don’t have time to tackle your problems all at once at least put aside some time each day to work on a part of the problem.  Take care of it in little chunks and before you know it the problem is gone.

A Mountain is moved one stone at a time. Start moving your stones and you’ll get rid of your mountain.

Rule #4 Manage Your Time Effectively

Just like money, time also must be budgeted.  You only have so many hours in a day and they must be used judiciously. Balance here is the key.  Make sure to take some time to work, deal with problems and relax.

You must be sure to include relaxation time for yourself, even if it is only 15 minutes a day.  Add it to your schedule and make sure you take this time for yourself.  Even if you must go to your room and lock the door to get it, be sure to do it.

There are many things you can do to relax and get your mind at ease.  Simple things such as a walk outside can help restore frazzled nerves and give you time to reflect on your life.  Other choices would be a nice, warm bath, or a quiet spot where you can meditate.

Mediation does not have to be anything grand or complicated.  Just find some quiet time and let all cares out of your mind.  Think of nothing for 15 minutes.  I find it easier to imagine a black screen in front of me. Every time a thought comes through my mind I remind myself that I do not want to think right now. My black screen is on.   Just do nothing, think nothing, be totally at peace for 15 minutes.  It will do wonders for you.  After you will find that you can think much more clearly. A quiet mind brings about answers that you would never usually think of.

Lastly, the effects stress will have on you is dependant upon the way you react to it. Stress is like the bully at school who keeps coming around to taunt you. You can let him have your candy or you can stand up and do something about it. The choice is yours.

May the Christmas season bring you peace.

God Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference


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