There’s no escaping the fact that during the holidays “stress happens.” It can make you want to pull the covers over your head and not come out until January.
If you’re single you may be full of dread as you worry about facing this holiday time alone without a partner. The holidays can magnify your feelings of insecurity and reduce your confidence and self-esteem.
The anticipation of a lonely holiday will create stress which will negatively impact your mental and physical well-being. It’s important for your health and happiness to find a positive and helpful way to deal with the stress you’re feeling. Here’s a new way to look at holiday stress.
Imagine a lecturer talking about stress management to an audience. He raises a glass of water and asks, “How heavy is this glass of water?”
The answers called out range from 6 oz. to 1 lb.
The lecturer replies, “The absolute weight of the glass of water doesn’t really matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance! In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”
He continues, “And that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.”
So, how can you use this example to help you get through the days leading up to Christmas and New Years? You will need to do a “pattern interrupt” in your routine. That is, you have to give yourself something new to do that changes your mood and your worrisome thoughts for a period of time. You can’t just sit and watch TV every night or whatever it is you habitually do to escape your stressful thoughts. It requires an effort on your part to change things up — to put down the heavy glass of water and give yourself a break.
Here are 3 ideas you can use to “pattern interrupt.” They may seem obvious, but sometimes we need to be reminded.
- Move your body: dance, try yoga, walk at the mall and window shop, explore new places to walk the dog (if you don’t have one, borrow one, or go to the pound where they always need dog walkers). lift weights, rearrange the furniture, clean.
- Move your mind: go to the library and browse, visit a museum, go to theatre, watch people at a coffee shop, feed birds in the park, start a conversation with a stranger.
- Change your perspective: talk to family, talk to a professional, talk to a friend. One of the best cures for stress is to know you are not alone.
You may be single but this year you won’t be hiding under the covers, you’ll be out celebrating and making this your best holiday ever.