'Tis the season to be jolly! Itís also the season to be busy, active and for some people, stressed. Although itís wonderful to spend time with friends and family, the added pressures can take a toll on a person and sometimes more so on a couple. As with the other 10 months of the year, you both should take care of yourselves and each other. Here are some signs that you might want to find some time for your spouse to wind down and recharge before the stress becomes a real issue. 1. Perfection Gains New Heights
If your partner is a perfectionist in March, you can only imagine the level of stress that goes with planning the perfect parties and activities involved in the holiday season. If he or she has a meltdown because of a burned batch of cookies or a string of lights that refused to cooperate, it might be time to sit down, sip some eggnog and watch ďItís a Wonderful Life.Ē 2. All in the Family
Christmas is all about coming together with friends and family, but sometimes the family gatherings tend to include those with whom youíd rather not come together. Whether itís the drunk, touchy- feely uncle, the drama queen aunt or the heathen nieces and nephews that are ďgrandmaís darlings,Ē dealing with family and in-laws can take a toll.
If your spouse has a strained relationship with his or her family, make sure that the time spent with family ends before the stress can set in and cause issues. This might mean brief or no visits with the family. And if youíre at a gathering and you can tell your spouseís blood pressure is rising, make your excuses and get the heck out of Dodge. 3. Food and Drink and Lots of It
Itís not uncommon for people to eat and drink differently during the holidays. However, if your tea-totaling spouse is suddenly quite fond of wine or vodka or canít get enough of your auntís fruitcake, stress might be the cause. People under stress often turn to food and alcohol for relief. And for the most part, the foods turned to arenít actually healthy. So if you spouse passes up half a grapefruit for breakfast and scarfs down two doughnuts instead, that could be a sign of stress eating. 4. The Holiday 10 (or so!)
Gaining weight during the holidays is a common occurrence, thanks to both the amount of tempting dishes and the caloric content of foods. But if you notice that your spouse is stress eating and has gained more than a couple of pounds, addressing the stressors could be a good idea.
ē Does she or he tend to want to eat after a conversation with a mother?
ē Does he go in search of a snack after balancing the checkbook?
ē Do you share a fattening snack while planning the holiday party or debating where you'll spend the holidays?
All of these things can lead to stress eating and significant weight gain. If you recognize the signs, do what you can to stop it. Choose healthier snacks and up your exercise routine. 5. Headaches and Other Pains
Stress is exhausting. It puts pressure on the brain, the stomach, the intestines, the reproductive organs and the heart. Stress can lead to a heart attack, stroke, ulcer and a host of other unpleasant and dangerous ailments. The pressure to plan the perfect Christmas party, buy the perfect gift and please everyone can trigger stressors never experienced before. If your partner seems more tired than usual, is complaining of stomach pain, or seems to always have a headache, the stress could be getting to him or her and it should be investigated immediately.
Letís be clear: a certain amount of stress is to be expected during the holidays. In some cases, stress makes a valuable motivator. But too much for too long can lead to problems.
To avoid this, balance doing the things that cause stress with the things that relax you and your spouse. For example, if you enjoy walking around the neighborhood, after planning the party or reading the credit card bill, take a walk around the block.
And whenever and wherever possible, avoid the negative stress triggers. The holidays are supposed to be a time for joy and happiness, and should be spent enjoying the company of family, loved ones and each other. If planning and preparing for them takes away from that, then that takes away from the joy.
~ Glen Community Support