Five Strategies for Stress Reduction

Another holiday is here already! Are you weary after seeing the Valentine’s candy, stuffed animals, and cards? If you are dreading yet another holiday or if you feel lonely on the “day for lovebirds”, today’s post will outline four emotions and five strategies to make it through.

Valentine’s Day is held to a high standard of sending cards, wearing red, making plans, and having fun. For a single person, a caregiver, or individuals who are sick, this day may be incredibly stressful. Read on to discover how to succeed on the most loving (or least loving) day of the year.

The stores are full of little hearts, candy, cards, balloons, stuffed animals, and trinkets to proclaim love. Jewelry stores are sending out large catalogs and commercials are proclaiming that love is in the air. For people who are single, caregivers whose spouses no longer know the day of the week, and individuals facing personal illness, the celebration is dreaded.

Do you wish the holiday would pass quickly?

Do you feel pressured to attend festivities that no longer seem festive to you? Are you wishing you could just bypass the upcoming celebrations?

Ted shared with us, “I hate this time of year. My kids pressure me into coming over, but dealing with my wife is too stressful.”

“I know what you mean,” Mary chimed in, “it is overwhelming. Then, to top it off people ask me what my plans are. How can I plan something special with a man who does not know he should be celebrating with me?”

Most of the other times of the year, people are allowed to be in whatever emotional state they feel. But, on Valentine’s Day, everyone expects you to be joyful and happy.

Are you dreading having to say “Happy Valentine’s Day” while answering questions about your plans for the day? If your thoughts are drawn to past Valentine’s celebrations, when times were happy, your stress intensifies.

It is true that times were easier when you were a child, had no responsibilities, no financial difficulties, no relational challenges, and no health issues. Celebrating a holiday can bring back memories of the loved one who died, the corporate downsizing, the illness you battle daily, and the loss of joy due to caregiving.

What are some emotions that you go through this time of year?

Emotions during the holidays:

Hopelessness-

Do you feel hopeless about the way life turned out? Was last year so devastating that you cannot begin to imagine anything better happening in the future?

If hopelessness starts to creep into your thoughts, immediately stop the thought and reverse it.  Meditate instead on something positive- an uplifting scripture verse, something good that happened in the past (if it happened before it can happen again), or something good that occurred to a family member (if God did it for them, He can do it for you).

If someone you love died, yes that is an extreme tragedy. But, that person does not want you to give up hope. Your loved one would want you to live your life and find some happiness in it.

Jealousy-

Are you jealous of the people who are dressing up and going out to eat while you are stuck at home? Do you wish you could dress like them, eat like them, or live their lives?

Remember two things:

  1. First, the image people project in the world of social media is a perfect one. You will never know what they are truly going through. Do not compare what you know about your life with what you do not know about another person’s life.
  2. Secondly, movies are fictional. Holiday movies and romance movies portray everything working out in the end because that is how they make money.  If you could pan the camera out a few years from the “happily ever after” moment, you would see the romantic young couple going through their own battles.

Rejection-

Do you feel left out of gatherings?  Did someone not invite you to a party?  Stress comes when you are denied the acceptance, love, and approval you search for in others.  Abandonment affects your Self-Image, Self-Worth, and Self-Esteem.

Look carefully at the word that precedes “image”, “worth”, and “esteem”. The word before each of them is the word “self”. Now replace that word with the name of God: God-Image, God-Worth, and God-esteem.

People will always let you down through abandonment.  God is the only One who will never reject you.  For further research of this, look up Deuteronomy 7:6, Psalm 94:14, Isaiah 4:9, Psalm 27:10, 1 Samuel 22:22, and Deuteronomy 7:31.

Sometimes people feel abandoned by God because He did not answer their prayers exactly as they requested, but God is not a genie or Santa Clause. He is not required to do what we demand.  However, He will comfort us and be here for us when life does not work out the way we wanted.

Lack of Control-

Do you question God when life does not go according to your plan?  Do you feel out of control?  Television shows dedicated to people who control their drug habits, or individuals who have to buy excessively, demonstrate the ramifications of individuals trying to control their world.  Some people refuse to relinquish their hoarding, shopping, or their drug addictions to the detriment of their family and their future.

Anger and helplessness are results of the lack of control.  People who feel helpless tend to shut down and quit altogether.  If you are in the position of wanting to give up on life, please seek help immediately.

Five strategies:

To reduce stress during holidays and all year through, keep in mind that troubles will come.  Problems are a constant, whether they are small challenges or they are catastrophic failures.  Realize that you will have chaos and unexpected situations in life.

Reclaim your sanity-

Do not have unrealistic expectations about the person you are caring for. If you set up unrealistic expectations, you are merely setting yourself up for an upset.  You will be let down.

Relearn flexible mindsets-

Be flexible.  Learn to bend with the changing schedules and chaotic situations that arise around all holidays.

Reach out-

Instead of mourning the past, reach out to others who are lonely.  If your support group does not meet on February 14, call someone and enjoy a phone chat.  Consider respite care for your loved one if you would like to get out of your house.

Reduce the pressure-

Take the pressure off yourself.  Every item on your “to do” list does not have to be checked off each day.  Look at your list with an open mind and with an eraser in your hand.  Move some items from the “to do” list to a “don’t need to” list.

Release perfectionism-

Perfectionism ends in disappointment.  Let go of the assumptions you had for the day and celebrate the accomplishment of making it through another year to see another holiday.  Pat yourself on the back whether or not you attained all your goals since last Valentine’s Day.  You made it through another year and that is worth celebrating!

Rename the day-

Someone else has proclaimed February 14th to be “Crème-Filled Chocolates Day”.  Buy yourself a fun treat on Valentine’s Day and proclaim that the day will be special for you.  Rename the day if you are single, or your spouse does not remember that February 14th is called Valentine’s Day.  Make it your own.

Pass it on:

After reading the above strategies, what would you add to the list?  Please use the comment section to let us know what you would rename Valentine’s Day or how you cope with the loneliness and stress.

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5 thoughts on “Five Strategies for Stress Reduction”

  1. I like to take a silly Valentine or tie a balloon on the mailbox of some of the ladies without husbands or that their family lives far away. Just doing something for someone else helps take the edge off of not having a husband to do something special with or for.
    I love your suggestions. Fantastic blog. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  2. This year Valentine’s was extremely hard I think because I’m tired of putting on the everything’s ok mask. I tried to hide behind the “who needs a day for love we have our anniversary”. It didn’t work either & im sorry to say I’m glad the day is over & done with. On a brighter note I am thankful for this blog & all the positive suggestions. They are in my mind & I’ll give them a try for all holidays 😍

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