There is so much to look forward to during the holidays – the beauty of the season, time with friends and loved ones, a chance to get away and visit people we don’t often see, good food, parties and other holiday events. But it can also be hectic, overwhelming, and anything but serene.
Shopping, gift wrapping, travel arrangements, food preparation, parties and other events can leave us feeling like there’s barely enough time to get everything done, much less have time for self-care!
With all that going on outside, it’s no wonder we feel stressed, anxious and overwhelmed!.
Feeling stressed is an ancient biochemical process that served us well over the millennia. It’s a way of quickly putting our body on high alert. It is designed to get us ready for physical activity like running away, or fighting. This has worked well in the distant past, but outside of a sporting event, it doesn’t do us much good these days. We have to find other coping mechanisms and different ways to calm back down. That’s where making an effort to relax more comes in.
Good Stress vs. Bad Stress
Not all stress is bad! Stress can motivate us and help us get through cramming all night long for an important exam or getting an important work project finished. There’s a time and place for stress. The big problem today is that we’re under too much stress and feel it almost all the time. That’s when stress can become very dangerous and even deadly.
Stress tends to be categorized into two different types of stress. Acute stress and chronic stress. Acute stress is what you feel when you’re in a dangerous situation. When your house catches on fire, and you barely get out, you’re feeling acute stress. While it takes a toll on the body, it’s not nearly as dangerous and deadly as chronic stress. This is the type of constant stress we feel under day in and day out that I described at the beginning of this post.
It simply starts to wear out the body. Stress will do damage to your heart, your arteries, and even your gut and your immune system. Stressed people frequently suffer from high blood pressure, heart disease, stomach and digestive problems, ulcers, and due to a lowered immune system, they are more susceptible to various bacterial and viral infections like cold and flu. Add to that the fact that high stress is often accompanied by insomnia and it’s no wonder we feel bad.
Add to all this the fact that stress makes it harder to heal and recover from an injury or illness, and it’s clear that this kind of stress is dangerous and something we need to address.
It’s important to focus on reducing stress as much as we can and find ways to cope better.
We have to actively make time for relaxation to give our body a chance to recoup and recover. While there isn’t always a lot we can do about external stressors, there is a lot we can do to counterbalance the effects of these stressors – from yoga and meditation, to getting more sleep and cutting back on distractions.
Start to become more aware of the stress you’re under. It’s much easier to start addressing the problem once you’ve become aware of it.
And to help you begin creating more serenity in your life right now, I’m offering a free 30-day Serenity Challenge.
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Click here to join us in the 30-Day Serenity Challenge.