Here we are again right on the very edge of THE HOLIDAYS!!
Does the thought of dealing with too much to do and too little time to do it evoke
panic? How can this year be different? How might you actually enjoy this time
instead of dreading it?
Knowing how damaging stress is may be a good start. Experiencing stress affects
our physical state. We can identify a stressful state when we experience any or
many signals, such as:
• Upset stomach
• Constant fatigue
• Sleeping or eating difficulties
• Feeling anger or irritation
• Choosing alcohol or drugs to cope
We can reduce stress by examining what we eat, drink, breathe, how we exercise, how we rest, and what we
hold as our belief systems.
Reviewing several factors about ourselves can be valuable:
• What are my particular stressors that ‘set me off’?
• How have I dealt with them in the past?
• What might work better, resulting in less stress?
• What would I like to happen differently?
What can we do ‘in the moment’ to reduce stress?
• Just breathe. Taking in deep breathes, holding, and releasing them on a slow count calms the system.
• Sitting quietly with your eyes closed for five minutes or so can help lower stress.
• Keeping a humorous joke in mind or finding anything funny to laugh about is another instantaneous stress-
• Conversing with a friend can be beneficial; enlist the aid of your support system. Feeling that you have an
outlet to vent is important.
Long-term plans for managing stress can include:
• Physical exercise on a regular basis.
• Using meditation, progressive relaxation techniques, and prayer can also alleviate stress.
• Cultivating a hobby can deflect the focus that centers on stress.
• Using positive self-talk and thinking healthy thoughts decrease stressful energy.
• Allowing oneself to be realistic in deciding what can and cannot be changed can help cope with stress as
• Developing and utilizing a support system including friends, family, and co-workers is beneficial.
When you realize you are feeling stressed, try experimenting with lowering self-expectations and setting realistic
goals. Identify your own unique feelings of stress and develop your own personal stress busters!
Pat Drerup-Cotter, LPF