Holiday Stress Survival 101

By December 20, 2009Uncategorized

As we enter the home stretch of the 2009 holiday season, now is the time to step back (again) take a deep breath and regroup! The holiday season is considered one of THE most stressful times of the year. Here’s why: This is the time of year that is filled with expectations, many of which go unmet (this means that tempers become raw and buttons are easily pushed). It’s also a time of control dramas. These include the perpetual reenactment of family dramas from childhood (this means added, often latent, tension at family gatherings, but let us not forget office or work environments which mirror family dynamics). Combine these aspects with impatient store customers (and clerks), rude drivers, bad weather, financial stress, great Christmas music (and perhaps some really bad Christmas music) played to death in stores and several more aspects too numerous to mention and you have the potential for a textbook definition of holiday stress. All is not lost, however—or even jaded! Step back, take a deep breath (perhaps two or three), and relax for a moment. With a calm mind, restablish healthy boundaries, and remember to open your heart and show kindness to everyone, no matter how they treat you.

• Stress Tip of the Day
There is no law that says Christmas cards have to be written and sent before Christmas. There is no commandment that states friends and family have to receive gifts (sadly, this holiday has been hijacked by consummerism!) This is a holiday season about love in our hearts and light in the world. If you can remember these two things while you wrap up this week’s final errands you will be doing good. If you can practice these two behaviors, you will be doing great and contributing to both inner peace and world peace, perhaps the greatest gift of all.

• Movies Worth Noting:
There are several movies to watch at home this week to inspire the Christmas spirit:
My favorite is, It’s a Wonderful Life, but there are many others including Love, Actually. The Holiday, The Muppets Christmas, and Joyeux Noel. Enjoy!

• Photo of the Day:
Even Santa can have a bad day. This photo/cartoon was sent to me by a friend who begged to have a blog entry on holiday stress. For her and all of you gnashing your teeth about now….Smile… This one’s for you.

• Quote for the Day:
“God bless us all, everyone one.”
—Tiny Tim (Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol)

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Brian Luke Seaward

Author Brian Luke Seaward

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Join the discussion One Comment

  • Anonymous says:


    (Sorry to address you as anonymous, the other title-options wouldn’t work.) I’ve been getting acquainted with you since my friend, Jeremy Jeffries, met you at the Anchorage diabetes conference. He recommended I contact you, which I did by email. Your out of office reply was sent to me, so I expect you’ll hear from me around the 5th, when you’re back to your office. As I said, I’ve been getting acquainted with you by browsing your web site, reading your articles, looking at your pictures (ahh…nature is grand isn’t it?) and reading your blogs.

    The children in my village call me Christmas Carol, especially the little ones. And over the years, as I experience this extraordinary world of ours with an ever-growing tenderness, I realize that within the larger design, there are no real coincidences when it comes to the important things in life. So not-coincidentally, my favorite Christmas movie is George C.Scott’s version of the Christmas Carol.

    I love it because it’s a wonderful metaphor for healing. Scrooge, through the guidance of his dream-spirits, reintegrates emotionally and spiritually. He travels inward and embraces, however reluctantly, his past. He recognizes the potential Christmas-like abundance of the present, and faces his potential spiritual or real death. Healing is going within, listening to all the voices, embracing the pain with compassion (for yourself and all those involved in its making) and reemerging with hope and with a renewed sense of potential. Christmas to me is all about expressing, experiencing, and giving of that potential…of that great abundance.

    It makes me think of one of my meditations…one that I put to music for my sister with cancer. You’ll learn about that when you get my ‘collaboration’ email.

    It goes like this:

    Within we have the option of peace,
    Noble within, widening and wondrous.
    Within we sing anthems of praise,
    No boundaries drawn, no battles to wage.
    We win because we are one.

    How can one speak of such a state,
    Of mind and body and soul?
    A state with no conflict or hate!

    Within we listen to all that is said,
    The strong and the weak have their say.
    Over time, we assure them,
    Their troubles will ease,
    And the fearful distortion
    That came with their pain,
    Will cease.

    The maps of the soul,
    The regions of the heart,
    Are real only in part.

    There is a terrain,
    A tender terrain,
    With great valleys
    And rivers meandering,
    All of a texture,
    All of a hue,
    Golden in its gathering–
    Noble within, widening and wondrous.

    Within we have the option of peace.
    All voices are one in this song of praise.
    We know no boundaries between us,
    No needs, no conflicts to embrace.
    We win because we are one.

    I’m really looking forward to meeting you one day. I think we have mysteries and beauties to explore. We’re both profoundly tied to nature. This is a very good foundation for a collaborative effort. I hope to hear from you soon.

    Carol Loftfield

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