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Whether you’re a Christmas fanatic or someone who just wants to get it over with, the holidays are full of high-stress moments. We often get so busy leading up to the holidays that we forget to be intentional about our planning and purchasing and then we end up buried emotionally and financially. Instead of being a season of rest and celebration, the holidays are often frantic—and even painful. Even when we plan ahead, holiday stress can sneak up on us.

Holiday stress is our mind and body’s response to the pressing responsibilities and demands of our lives. Stress is normal. When we experience a threat, whether it’s holiday traffic, a crazy family member, or a family fight over Christmas dinner, our brains overload with stress. Our bodies prepare to take action. Our heart rates increase. Our pupils dilate. Our muscles tighten and our jaws clinch.

In the short term, stress can be helpful. It keeps us focused and alert. But living in a chronic state of stress causes horrific damage to our mental and physical health and can have long term damage to our bodies.

The holidays should be joyful and restorative, but they’re often demanding. And this season after dealing with Covid and the uncertainty of not knowing whats coming next, we’ll need to give ourselves and others some slack… a lot of it! Make no mistake, stressful events will happen. But the thing is, we get to choose how we respond to those stressful events.

There are only two things on planet Earth you can control, your thoughts and your actions. That’s it. You can’t control what is said around the dinner table. You can’t control your kids’ attitudes or what is going on in the news. When you choose to let go of what you can’t control, you’ll begin to reduce the amount of stress in your life by refusing to carry other people’s and the world’s problems.

This Holiday season, take time for yourself, get plenty of sleep, breathe through the stressful moments and try to not overdo it on the alcohol and sweets.

This Holiday season remember it is our opportunity to be with family and friends and share positive, uplifting moments together. Be grateful that you’ll be creating blessed memories and let the stress fade and the celebrations be made!

This Holiday season, know that we all will wish you a Merry Christmas from your INA Benefits Group family….

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