Holiday Stress

It begins with Black Friday....the sudden rush and the panic.

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The need to make out a list and check it twice. According to ShopperTrak, Black Friday sales fell from over 11 billion in 2014 to 10 billion in 2015. Although this is a major drop in revenue, it still shows how much individuals are consuming in preparation for the holiday season. The need to buy the perfect gift, flawlessly decorate the house, and prepare an impeccable meal can often result in an increased amount of stress during what should be a pleasant time to spend with family and loved ones. 

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Christmas isn’t the only holiday that can cause stress this time of year.

Families celebrate other holidays including Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Diwali. In addition to the financial burden, holiday gatherings may involve unwanted memories, forced socialization, and feelings of inadequacy. All of this sounds like an experience as overwhelming as a horde of mutant zombie elves.

However, the principles of these holidays can be used to find healthy and effective ways for coping with the stress that accompanies them.

Christmas

  • “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people.” This passage from the Book of Luke is a reminder that celebrating Christmas is obviously more than trimming trees and wrapping presents. It is a time for all to revel in the gift of joy for everyone regardless of their circumstances.

Hanukkah

  • The eight days of Hanukkah are a time when prayers of gratitude are recited for the gift of miracles and appreciation for surviving another season of life. Faith in the face of oppression is a major theme of this holiday that lends itself to life beyond the season.

Kwanzaa

  • The Seven Principles (The Nguzo Saba) developed by Dr. Maulana Karenga are Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). Through these principles, families and communities encourage each other to work together for spiritual, not just monetary, wealth.   

Diwali

  • Also known as the “festival of lights,” Diwali focuses not just on external lighting but internal illumination of goodness, compassion, and forgiveness. The festive atmosphere of the streets is a reflection of the positive energy generated within those who celebrate.
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Threading the themes of faith, gratitude, togetherness, and compassion to name a few is a good way to help ward off the typical holiday “blues” encountered during this time of year. Using the true meaning of these time-honored traditions, it is possible to heal old wounds, gain new insights, and replace the discomfort of holiday stress with the joy of holiday cheer.

 

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Comments

Gale Harris's picture
December 22, 2015
Thanks for reminding us that the things that stress us out around the holidays are not the true reason we celebrate these occasions. As someone who has to be vigilant against the blues, I can testify that your suggestions DO help to ward of the mutant zombie elves.

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