The Christmas songs go “’tis the season to be jolly, good tidings to all men, peace and goodwill”, but for many people, it is only the songs that sound great, their experiences are the complete opposite of jolliness, goodwill and peace.
From the shopping to the cooking and having to deal with overly excited children and relatives, the anxiety and stress mount high for them. In reality, Christmas is stressful!
According to a poll taken by a charity organization called the Blood Pressure UK, Christmas is a very stressful season for most people, and the most stressful activity is shopping.
It has been advised that people above 40 years old should find stress-relieving techniques during the festivities because of the negative effects it can have on the body.
Here is how the Christmas stress can affect your body:
When we experience this stress, our heart rate increases, our blood pressure rises, the muscles become tense, stored fats and glucose are released for energy and body oxygen consumption increases.
It is common knowledge that stress is very dangerous to the body and health and can result in many disorders and diseases. In fact, Chronic stress can alter brain function and structure long term.
Contrary to popular belief, Christmas itself is not what triggers the stress, it is how the festival is interpreted.
The human body merely reacts in a primitive way to our emotions with the “fight or flight” response and Christmas, being a high-pressure event simply points to our poor stress management techniques.
How to cope with Christmas stress?
Many people use substances like alcohol to soothe their stress, and this only makes things worse because it further strains our already overloaded emotions and stressed-out bodies.
A more efficient solution is meditation
Of all its many benefits, one of the immediate things it can do for you is help you focus on your breathing- the most significant life force that hardly captures our attention.
With proper breathing through meditation, you can have some control over the exchange of oxygen and the expulsion of carbon dioxide from the blood.This is very important because stress makes our breathing shallow, impairing vital functions.
Meditating using deep breathing activities resists the sympathetic nervous system’s “fight or flight” stress response and activates your parasympathetic nervous system.
Meditation has gone deeper and on a more sustainable level than our breathing. It is now widely recognized for its health and stress benefits, backed by various scientific studies and evidence.
The positive effects of meditation include increased orderliness, deep rest, increased blood flow to the brain, brain functioning integration.
The benefits directly oppose the results of stress to the body.
Meditation technique to cope with stress during Christmas
- Find a quiet, solitary place where you won’t be distracted or interrupted
- Sit down with your feet flat on the floor and turn your focus to your breathing
- Observe as the warm air leaves your body, exhaling through your nostrils, then observe as you inhale the cold air to fill your lungs.
- Slowly let your body relax, releasing every muscle tension
- Allow your mind to settle, subsiding every chatter
- Stay sited, remain present and don’t think about the past or the future; allow yourself to simply be
You can take about 15minutes off during the work-loaded Christmas day, allowing yourself to release tension and decompress. After this, you will almost immediately see the results and a difference in your capacity to cope with the Christmas stress.