Overcoming Holiday Stress

We are a nation of stressors and the holidays seem to exacerbate the condition. My definition of stress is “living outside your resources.” Use these thoughts to keep your balance and enjoy the festivities of the season.

Maintain structured routine. Mental and physical involvement in the tasks of the day can keep your mind off worries and provide a feeling of accomplishment. Keep the to-do list within the scope of your energy and resources.

Build your faith. Numerous studies show the connection between religious practices and the positive impact on health. Belief in a Higher Power boosts spirits and gives life purpose and meaning. Find the true meaning of the holiday celebrations – family, thanks, relationship, joy, goodwill and peace.

Do something absurd and out of the ordinary. Laugh. Make yourself smile and give a few forced “ha ha’s”. Works doesn’t it. Keep it going by remembering an amusing incident and relate it to a friend. Read the comics out loud in a dramatic fashion with made-up voices.

Make room for moments of joy and pleasure. Listen to music; sing along and dance. Take a short brisk walk and revel in the beauty of the outdoors. Savor a small bite of a forbidden treat. Look through a picture album and relieve cherished memories. Spend time with a child and really listen to his/her magic wishes.

Get things in perspective. Imagine that everything is gone. You are all alone in the middle of nowhere. You have no family, no home, no job and nothing to celebrate. Do you have the picture? Do you feel sad and empty? Now, all of a sudden, you get everything back. Don’t you feel rich? Don’t you feel loved? Aren’t you glad for the holidays?

Find the magic of pets. Pets have been proven to be stress reducers. They make understanding companions, help combat loneliness, reduce blood pressure and their playful antics bring smiles. So stroke the cat, pat the puppy or watch the fish and allow you stress to melt away.

We are made for community and we have a need to serve. Keep the entertaining simple. Keep spending within your income. Bask in the comity of family and friends. Make time for quiet reflection. Allow the joy of the holidays to embrace you and see the revelry of by-gone days become afresh.


Let Us Give Thanks

 Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is a time for us to pause and reflect on the things for which we are thankful.
For being born an American where we have certain unalienable rights and where we are free to exercise them, or to take them for granted, or to ignore them. I am thankful we have so many freedoms. Even though it has been abused and taken to extremes, I am thankful for free speech

I am thankful for the Pilgrims who braved an angry ocean and withstood seeming insurmountable hardships to blaze a country with freedom to worship according to the dictates of each one’s heart.
            I am thankful for our forefathers and the foresight and wisdom of our Constitution. Harpers Magazine, in 1858, published the fate of the signers of the Declaration of Independence: two had sons kidnapped; five were captured as British traitors; nine died on the battle field; twelve had their houses ransacked and burned; all suffered hardships, ridicule and rejection. All died with a clear conscience of having served their country well.
 I am thankful for my family…

            For parents who reared me to have character, integrity, security, freedom and roots. They taught me responsibility by allowing me to suffer the consequences of wrong choices.I am thankful for my brothers whose harassing taught me endurance and whose kidding taught me to laugh at life, and at myself.
         I am thankful for my sister whose unconditional love taught me to accept myself as I am, and whose tolerance of my childish acts taught me patience. I am thankful for my elderly aunt who, until her death at 96, taught me that life is fun at any age and worth living to the fullest.
            I am thankful for my husband whose encouragement has supported my dreams, whose strengths have complimented my weaknesses, and whose security with who he is has given me the freedom to remain who I am.

         I am thankful for our daughter whose sheer delight in life brings joy to my days and gives purpose to my existence. I am thankful for our son-in-law who has added a wonderful dimension to our family. I am thankful for our five grandchildren whose winning ways melt my heart and reestablishes hope for the future.

         I am thankful for assorted relatives who have touched my life in various ways – some good, some bad – but all uniting us as a family.
         I am thankful for friends. For acquaintances whose smiling greetings make casual encounters more fun; for neighbors whose comity lends unity to my corner of the world; and for those special comrades who laugh with me, cry with me, grow with me. I am thankful for each person who has touched my person in a unique way.
  I am thankful for the less obvious things…
           I am thankful for misunderstandings, because they teach me to strive to be a better communicator; for criticism, for it forces me to examine actions and attitudes of self-righteousness, and leads to repentance; for failures, because they make me appreciate successes; for adversity, because it is in the winter that roots grow deepest to find fresh nourishment; for financial reverses, because it helps me to be grateful for what I have.

          I am thankful for challenges that taxes every fiber of my being, for it forces me to grow in new directions. I am thankful for dreams, for ideas and for goals, for they keep me active and energetic and alive. I am thankful for a contented mind and a grateful heart.

Once a year we celebrate Thanksgiving. Everyday let us celebrate Thanksliving.
Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach. 254-749-6594