With the end of the year racing towards us it is very easy to succumb to overwhelm, and here in Australia I believe that we actually do this season much harder than we need to, and perhaps harder than they do overseas. The festivities of Christmas, or whichever of the Holidays you celebrate, coincides here with the end of the school year, the end of the working year, and the end of the calender year, all in one short week.
Trying to juggle a myriad of ‘end-of-year’ school activities, dance concerts, exam study, shopping for the festivities ahead and socialising, together with having so many businesses closing down for at least a few weeks and preparations for the mass post-Christmas exodus to various idyllic beachy places, it is very easy to get caught up in a sense of “approaching the end”. Easy to get that nagging feeling that you need to finish absolutely everything, to tie up all the loose ends in your life.
It seems that the whole nation drives itself into an absolute feverpitch of stress through December and then shifts to the opposite extreme and shuts down totally after Christmas Eve. It is no wonder everyone races around with a sense of impending doom if everything isn’t done and finalized on time.
Perhaps this Australian ‘end-is-nigh’ approach to December actually fuels the stressful emotions that are experienced.
Are You Driving Yourself Too Hard?
How many times do you say to people ‘we must catch up before Christmas’? How much do you drive yourself at work to finalise jobs that realistically might wait a week or two? How many parties do you attend? How many late nights do you have? How much fattening, sugary, or rich food do you eat? How often are you driven to do or buy something which could wait, without really knowing what drives you to do it right now? And these are only what you are actually doing – they don’t even start to address the emotions that get stirred up at this time.
This last part of the year can be a time of escalating stress for so many during the build-up to Christmas with ‘so much to get done’, loneliness, increasingly tired children as they approach the end of the school year, the pressures of self-run businesses to cover added end of year costs such as holiday pay for staff, a calendar that seems to overflow, loss of a job and financial constraints, plus many more difficulties.
Loneliness and Grief
This part of the year is also the time of tremendous emotional stress for many. It is the time when the loss of loved family members, whether through separation or their passing, comes home and strikes with almost paralyzing force. For some people the whole season is wrapped in a tight mantle of grief that draws in around and stifles them.
It can also be the time when singles feel the most lonely, when isolation from family and friends or an abscence of them in your life strikes most intensely.
For others the experience of returning into a family where everyone is suddenly thrown back into the role they played as a youngster and the family dynamics that played out when they were children, is too difficult to deal with.This is in spite of the fact that in their real everyday life they are responsible and competent parents, partners, employees or employers with wide and admirable skills and abilities.
In this scenario is it any wonder that the anxieties of childhood rear their ugly heads. Is it any wonder that behaviour reverts and childish tantrums or bickering, petulant unhappiness or resentment and various other actions that arise from the uncertain and fearful child that is still living deep within, start to occur.
But whatever the reason the ability to engage in the Christmas spirit eludes many and the season is anything but bright.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
There are a number of natural strategies that you can adopt to help deal with these issues. Rather than go into each of them in detail I will give you a link to some that I think are sound and effective. You can have a look and try a few out and then use any that suit you the best.
Even making a little time to get some exercise or relaxation is a good way to start. When we start to rush both exercise and relaxation space often go by the wayside. Schedule the time in your calendar and then stick to it.
Remember that a massage can work wonders especially if you carry your stress in your neck and shoulders, and it will be even more effective if it includes aromatherapy essential oils for relaxation.
Emotions respond beautifully to any of the varied forms of energetic medicine. Medicine delivered in an energetic form can be very effective in ‘re-balancing and re-setting you’ so that you are able to deal with whatever it is you have to face. Hear are a few.
Homeopathy offers some great remedies for many of the issues such as stress, overwork, grief, over-excitement, anxiety, guilt, exhaustion and so on.
Homeopathic Coffea helps with getting over-excited children off to sleep on ChristmasEve. Ignatia is often a first choice for grieving. Nux vomica can work wonders if you are driving yourself towards burnout with overwork.
Homeopathic remedies need to be matched to your own idiosyncratic symptoms, the particular way you manifest the stress so unless you are familiar with self-prescribing for acute situations, or if your stress is long-standing you should consult with a fully trained and registered Homeopath.
Visiting an Acupuncturist is a great way to deal with the stress, but even better, you can do Acupressure yourself anytime and anywhere, and it works along the same lines as acupuncture. Here is a good demonstration of one way to relieve stress by Donna Eden, an expert at using acupressure in her energy medicine work.
This advice and demonstration of acupressure points to use for hangovers could be useful if you are partying hard. And here are some acupressure points to help with feelings of anxiety felt throughout the holiday season.
Flower essences can have a great benefit when trying to deal with grief. They work very gently, but effectively on the emotions.
The basic Bach Rescue Remedy or Australian Bush Flower Emergency Essence are both good ‘all-purpose’ mixes for dealing with stressful situations but there are a number of others that can be tailored to each individuals requirements. FES Five Flower Formula is similar to Bach Rescue Remedy.
Perhaps my favourite for this time of the year would be the Australian Bush Flower ‘Calm & Clear’ essence – the name says it all.
There are flower essences to help relieve all the other stressful emotional responses to the holidays and they are well worth investigating.
For information about each of the Bach remedies look here, for Australian Bush Flower Remedies look here and Californian Flower Essences here. And this blogger describes her response to flower remedies which is interesting if you have had no experience of them before
Here are some useful strategies for those who have to deal with intensified extended family tensions. They give you the opportunity to plan ahead and devise strategies for you as well as your family.
Importantly it is all about taking back the reigns and getting back your sense of control. If you are able to clearly identify where your stress is coming from then you have a better chance of achieving this control. If there is a tradition in your festivities that causes more stress than joy, then it is time to give yourself permission to change things. Maybe 2012 is the year to make changes, after all you cannot help others if you are not really coping yourself.
Don’t forget, it is not all about the ‘Big Day’. The stress of the lead up through December can be just as bad or worse, and the significant health effect that prolonged stress can have on your whole system is often not recognized or acknowledged until it gets serious.
Remember to check in with situations and ask yourself whether they are of joy or of stress right through the whole Month of December.
Make this the year where you decide to be a bit kinder to yourself. Sure there are always going to be pressures, but maybe by being aware of the extent of the manufactured pressures you embrace, you can let a few slide, and in easing up your obligations you will be able to deal with those stresses you really cannot avoid.
It is time to allow yourself the gift of self-love and self-care.
All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site.