Stress Before Christmas

As the holidays creep up on us, many people have a very difficult time emotionally. There is pressure in every thing from planning events at work, to family gatherings at home. There may be travel to see family you would rather not, possibly even the person or people who abused you. There are decorations to put up, cookies to bake, and gifts to buy. All these projects and expectations bring on much anxiety for some of us, especially if perfection is the expectation from either yourself or perceived from others. This picture might illustrate how you’re feeling.

Christmas stress
In a season that is all about merry and jolly I did not expect to find so many lurking triggers and I have, in magical movies about Santa; in commercials; in shopping trips. My depression and PTSD have intensified and my doctor is trying to balance, change, balance, change my anti-depressants. Anyone who is or has taken them, understands how all the changes negatively affect your mood in itself. I start slipping into that “I just don’t care” mode and this picture demonstrates my preference for the season.

Whether you are trying to survive and get everything accomplished with anxiety, or your mood is such that just getting out of bed takes enormous fortitude, the Christmas season is challenging. My encouragement for all of us is in the final picture, a lesson we learned from “Frosty the Snowman” when we were little children.

life ME
Those in the first category need to slow down their pace, one step, one errand, another step, another project. I know you may be thinking, she just doesn’t know what I have to do. Yep, been there, have hosted the extremely large extended family Christmas at my house more than once and will this year again. Getting too many things going at once just gets you lost, confused, frustrated, more anxious, and then guilty because it is not all done; and certainly not up to your standards. Breath. Take a step. Breath.

For those of us in the second category this year. One step may feel like dragging a hundred pound lead weight across the floor. The same advice works here. One step. Just do the next thing. Then rest. Then do the next thing. You will not only be surprised with what you have accomplished, you will feel good about yourself for completing a task and that will help motivate you to face the next one. And remember, that bed will be waiting at the end of a masterful day!

All pictures are from one of my favorites: Mary Engelbreit

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