Stress at Christmas is something that affects nearly all of us. There is the pressure of all that has to be done. The presents – Christmas dinner – what to do with Aunt Sally this year – or even sometimes the stress of being alone and feeling that no-one cares. Looking at stress at Christmas and trying to understand the stress we are under can be the first way to begin to try and reduce it.
Understanding Stress at Christmas
This picture from the wall in my office is one way of saying that we all have stress in our lives. Too much stress however is not good for us. This graph ( from my book Mindful of the Light) shows the effects of too much stress.
When we are asleep or bored our arousal levels are low and we are not doing much. As we get ready for work, for example, we are becoming mildly alert. When we are doing a demanding task, so our stress levels rise until we are performing at our optimal level.
Effects of too much stress
If the stress increases further we may become anxious and panicky and – here is the important thing to remember – our level of performance goes down. We do not function so well. So, the more stressed we are the less efficient we become. This is why it is important not to get too stressed, particularly with everything happening at this time of year as Christmas approaches! Are there any ways we can examine our stress levels and work out how to reduce them?
In my next blog I will talk about how we can measure our stress at Christmas using a simple technique.