COPING WITH STRESS DURING THE YULETIDE

Silent Night, Holy Night, All is come, All is bright… Hearing this song and other similar ones is a telltale that Christmas is around the corner. The whole year is about to be wrapped up and another year is about to come aboard. The season has some particular characteristics for all comers. It is a period of rush. Rush to buy things ranging from clothes, chickens; and getting things done such as moving to new houses, getting married and for some particular tribe in Nigeria it is a time of exodus for them.
This period has effect on the financial capacity of almost everybody. The budget for Christmas is normally quite different compared to ordinary day as you think of buying new clothes for your children, you think of enjoying yourself and extending the hand of fellowship to others as well.
However, the economic reality on ground may not support the way Christmas has always been celebrated. We may not have the money to travel to village and the money to buy fowls could only get fish. These can really be distressing and troubling as it is even coming at a time when the country is facing severe socioeconomic problems. It can be very challenging celebrating Christmas alone because the season is a time to be with friends, extended family members and others.
Being unable to keep up with your Christmas plan is undeniably a stressor. Stressor means a cause of stress. Stress is the way we choose to respond to demands of the day. This response could be expressed physically, emotionally and psychologically. For example, Yoruba has a saying that “ai lo wo lo wo ajani la ya baba ijaya” which can be literally interpreted to be the lack of money is a great source of fear. Remembering that you are financially hard up during this Christmas season can lead to fear. Fear is an emotional reaction which when it happens signals the release of some hormones and worked on the hippocampus and amygdala regions of the brain. These structures of the brain are responsible for our emotional memories. Stress can also elicit physical conditions such as headache, tiredness and dizziness. During yuletide period, women are more exposed to stressful conditions which are more gender-role in nature than men. Cooking the food that the whole family will eat may lead to tiredness, headache and other similar reactions. Trying to keep up with the ‘Joneses’ during this period can result in poor mood. You feel terrible, you may want to prefer withdrawal from social activities that will expose your financial inadequacy, you may be feeling sorrowful and respond by attempting to drown your sorrows in alcohol an attempt which is quite maladaptive.
How do we cope with these stressful reactions? The first thing to do is to have an advance plan for Christmas. Prepare ahead so you know what you want to do and with who you are doing it with at any particular time. This helps you to reduce your stress level to a manageable degree rather than what will happen when you are forced to deal with the events when it happens.
Be sincere about what you have control over and what you don’t have control over. You should be able to let things slide if you can’t control them.
Be positive. It is the way we see a situation that determines our reactions to that situation. This Christmas may not be as good as you have wanted, it is not the only Christmas you will celebrate in your life time.
You deserve some rests after you have worked trying to satisfy everybody that comes around for a meal. Rest and get strengthened for the coming days.
Do not neglect the gathering of your loved ones because you don’t have money. You may be surprised that if you lose such moments, you may not be able to get them even if you have all the money in the world.
Everything should be moderately done.
Lastly, just find time to breath. Just breathe in and out for multiple times and tell yourself to calm down. By so doing, you are trying to take control of your live. If you require further help at this period DAMONDMOOR is available in making sure your mental health is well managed and handled professionally, please contact us, info@diamondmoor.com.ng, 081 2827 6962, +234 2291 4084.
Merry Xmas and Happy New year in advance.