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“Without Question, The Holiday Season Is A Time Of High Stress”

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“Without Question, The Holiday Season Is A Time Of High Stress”

                            
With Mayo Clinic oncologist Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

 

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

In the midst of a mystical 6-mile run in the predawn darkness, a quote came into my mind that I heard at a medical meeting. It went something like this and was from an anonymous author.

“The best way to predict the future, is to create the future.”

I believe the author was telling us that yes, we do have control over some aspects of our lives and we do need to accept those aspects of our lives for which we have no control.

This is especially crucial when you confront holiday stress. The media offers pictures of the multigenerational, well-fed, well-dressed family sitting around a table bursting with holiday offerings. Under the tree are neatly wrapped gifts which are all paid for and which will be adoringly embraced by the recipients. The reality for most individuals is somewhat different.

Most families have challenges and many families struggle this time of the year trying to live up to the “ideal holiday season.” Here are some suggestions that I have heard from patients and families trying to deal with holiday stress.

Connect with an expert

Stress blog

With Mayo Clinic oncologist Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

 

December 11, 2008
Reality vs. myth in fighting holiday stress
 

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

In the midst of a mystical 6-mile run in the predawn darkness, a quote came into my mind that I heard at a medical meeting. It went something like this and was from an anonymous author.

“The best way to predict the future, is to create the future.”

I believe the author was telling us that yes, we do have control over some aspects of our lives and we do need to accept those aspects of our lives for which we have no control.

This is especially crucial when you confront holiday stress. The media offers pictures of the multigenerational, well-fed, well-dressed family sitting around a table bursting with holiday offerings. Under the tree are neatly wrapped gifts which are all paid for and which will be adoringly embraced by the recipients. The reality for most individuals is somewhat different.

Most families have challenges and many families struggle this time of the year trying to live up to the “ideal holiday season.” Here are some suggestions that I have heard from patients and families trying to deal with holiday stress.

Be realistic. If individuals have locked horns for most of the year, it is not reasonable to think that on one day all will be forgiven. We need to be gentle with ourselves. We need to forgive ourselves.

The best gift is not a toy, a trinket, or a thing. It is the gift of our presence. It is the gift of our listening. It is the gift of our “being there.”

Without question, the holiday season is a time of high stress. Many individuals drink too much, eat too much of the wrong foods, and do not get enough sleep. This is the “perfect storm” to accentuate the stress which is already rampant in our communities. We do need to take care of ourselves. We do need to draw that line in the sand and say, “no, thank you for the opportunity but we will not be able to participate.” If we give and give, there is nothing left to give.

I am certain that there are some holiday stress survival tactics that I have left out. Please let me hear from you so we can all profit from our collective experiences. Yes, we are survivors and we are resilient and we will do just fine.