#Holiday Stress: The 3 Major Causes and How to Deal

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– Natasha Sharma gives us our first holiday gift!

Back when I was a psychology grad student at Johns Hopkins, I took a class with a special focus on Anxiety. Somewhere in the textbook for this course there was a rank ordered list of stressful life events that could potentially lead to psychological distress, fittingly called a ‘stress scale.’ As I scanned the list, I saw many of the usual suspects: Divorce, dismissal from work, taking on a major mortgage or foreclosure of a house. Then my eyes flashed across a word I wasn’t expecting: Christmas. Incidentally, it ranked as more stressful a life event than experiencing a minor legal infraction! At first the foolish student in me laughed, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense.

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Stress is the body’s natural reaction to major changes in our environment, and it isn’t always a bad thing. In appropriate amounts and duration, stress can motivate us to identify and adapt to these changing events, a crucial life skill. Chronic and pervasive stress, however, may lead to unhealthy anxiety. The October through January 1 ‘holiday stretch’ usually results in a lot of extra stuff going on for many people. In my experience as a Psychotherapist, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, or other cultural events, holiday stress usually falls into 3 main categories: Family, Keeping Appearances, and Time. Here is my take on why we get so stressed out at this time of year and more importantly, what to do about it.

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  1. Ah family. I’m talking about birth and extended family members, like siblings, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and in-laws. Some we like. And some we just don’t. And we typically come together with some or all of them over the holidays, often at multiple times. A lot of my clients worry about confronting difficult or annoying family members, the types who ‘shame and blame’, constantly criticize, brag and compare, or take not-so-subtle digs at them. Avoid letting these types get under your skin. Here’s how to deal: Expect these family members to behave that way, before heading to the gathering. When you expect it to happen, you take away all the fear and anxiety over wondering and worrying what they’ll be like, because you already know. Then if by chance they behave well, it will be a pleasant surprise. Either way, you’ll feel calmer. If people do fall out of line or hit below the belt, address it with them immediately, calmly, and firmly. And remember that they alone are responsible for their actions. You are responsible for your reactions.

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  1. Social pressure to ‘be’ or ‘look’ a certain way has always been nagging presence in life. From getting the ‘right’ gifts to having the perfect job, being in a great relationship, having the perfect marriage, house, and kids…this list goes on and on. The popularity of social media has inadvertently created the opportunity to compare ourselves to one another on a 24-7 basis. In addition, we invariably spend some of our holiday time updating and answering questions about our lives to people we may not have seen for some time. Here’s how to deal: Practice the art of gratitude. Be grateful for where you are and what you have. If you’re reading this article, chances are you already have more than many people in the world do, including health, shelter, food, and safety. The abundance of the holidays should be a stark reminder of that, but often they’re not. Mentally forbid yourself from keeping score in your head with who’s doing what, where, and how much they make. Be humble, be you, and be proud of all that goes with it.
  1. If there is ever a time in the year when we have a desperate lack thereof, it’s around the holidays. From office parties to family engagements, shopping and preparing, it’s no wonder we feel stretched to our limits. Feeling like you’re on a deadline you might not meet can cause a ton of stress. Here’s how to deal: Pace yourself and learn how to say ‘no’. You can’t do everything, so consciously choose what you can and can’t commit to around the holidays. Focus your energy on what you enjoy the most. If parties and gatherings are your thing, perhaps you can order some or all of your holiday meal pre-made. If you love cooking and preparing your home for the holidays, you don’t have to accept every invitation to events. Make lists, and avoid cramming too many things into one day. Most importantly, take time out of every day to unwind completely alone. Even if it’s only for 10 minutes. Your body and your mind will thank you!
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#AlexSandra #Christmas Spotlight Motivating Other Mothers

Motivating Other Mothers

http://www.motivatingothermothers.com/

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“I am worthless, I am a horrible Mother, I don’t know how to move on with my kids after my divorce.” These are some of the cries for help that Alexsandra Wright hears every day from Mothers who are desperate for someone, anyone to listen to their story. Alexsandra is a Mother with great passion and dedication to motivating other Mothers. She is an executive with vast experience in PR, branding and strategic marketing (to name a few). Her impressive resume does not only have big named celebrities and business people to attest to her excellent work, but also the voices of over 2000 Mothers and children in 2014 alone, thanking Alexsandra for anything from finding them a home to getting their Mother a new career. This is a woman who knows how to give back to people who need it the most. How can she handle such a large, diverse cliental? Her empire, her movement, Motivating Other Mothers, is dedicated to changing the way Mothers see themselves.

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Transcending To Grace

Alexsandra knows the fear of a Mother’s desperation all too well. When she had given birth to Nixon, her handsome little boy, there was a controversy. Alexsandra had a long term relationship with a high profiled celebrity who was, at the time, married. Though Alexsandra takes accountability for her part in this, when she gave birth to little Nixon, something changed.
When Nixon was born, Alexsandra, “transcended anything human. I understood what love and responsibility was. This gift of this little human being to me is something that I am so grateful for every day. He (Nixon) is a better person than me, he is smarter than me, he brought healing to me and my entire family. He was delivered to me, perfect.”

Alexsandra remembers after bringing little Nixon home for the first time that “Golden Slumbers” a series of lullabies by Dave Koz was playing. A soft jazz version of “Isn’t She (and he) Lovely was playing and she held her little boy in her arms and began to weep tears of joy. She was humbled. She was overwhelmed. She felt so much gratitude. She had transcended. Little Nixon will be loved and protected. He will get a chance to grow and be nurtured in peace. Every Mother, like Alexsandra, has one moment where everything in the world is secondary to the gift that is their child.

Anchoring In Muddy Waters

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With a little baby, Alexsandra had gone for public assistance. She had very little. She sat in the classroom that was mandated to learn how to construct a resume. In the classroom of the frustrated and unemployed, she realized something. The facilitator of this mandatory class for those on public assistance was extremely motivated to help. The class full of those who required the assistance, were not. Many of them were single Mothers. They made the facilitators job a difficult one, but Alexsandra sensed the frustration of the Mothers and worse, she saw the facilitator lose her hope in helping these people get on their feet again. Alexsandra knew that she could help these Mothers. That, in her state of loss, she wanted to help others who felt like they had nothing. She packed up anything in her house that she was not using, old clothes of her own and some that her son had out grew and started giving away her things to these Mothers. One Mother in particular, struck a chord with Alexsandra. A twenty year old single Mother had a four year old child and was getting a divorce. She loved fashion but had no formal education. This young Mom had convinced herself that she would not amount to anything. It dawned on Alexsandra that this young girl would be a great product ambassador. Astonished, the young girl applied and got a job. She got off public assistance. If Alexsandra could inspire one Mother to reach her full potential and get off public assistance, why not more? Why not all of them?

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Instead of fearing this difficult time of poverty and loss, she decided to firmly plant her feet into it. She created Motivating Other Mothers, a website dedicated to helping Moms with all problems by teaching Moms to motivate each other. She started working at the DA’s office and went back to her previous career in branding. However, her passion is families. She can only remember the peace she felt holding little Nixon that first night with that sweet lullaby playing in her head. She had her purpose. She had a voice, then it was time to fly.

I became a mother and lost a mother in one year

With great sadness, Alexsandra was blessed with Motherhood and had her own Mother had passed away. Thankfully, Alexsandra’s Mother had gotten to see her little baby Nixon, but time is short. Alexsandra’s family is a great one and the glue that held it all together was her Mother. Alexsandra had such a good Mother she had planted a seed of strength in Alexsandra and now Alex takes this power and wants to harvest it with not only her precious son, but Mothers everywhere.
Cradling the Seed

“I am present for each part, every victory or defeat, I was seeing everyone around me and I poured love, energy, passion and learning into other people, especially mothers and children.”

Alexsandra continued helping everyone who wanted it, from her celebrity Mother friends right down to a Mother she would meet on the street. She took her vast knowledge of branding and her love of social interaction and combined it with her passion, helping others. As she moved forward, she attests that we should all give back to those in need. To Alexsandra, that is the seed of true success “Move Forward, give back.”

Surface Blossom

“I am the proactive catalyst to change our existence and this defines me.”

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Why are there so many women who are afraid to use their voice? Alexsandra puts it simply, “Not to victimize women, but women take a beating at every turn. The woman who works two to three jobs to keep her single parent family afloat hardly has time to spend quality time with her child.” The woman on assistance has put her children in a home where they will have to struggle for the necessities. These two situations can feel like there is nowhere to turn. Alexsandra has been there and she knows how to help.
Many women are programmed to shun confrontation and controversy. They will go out of their way to avoid it. Alexsandra attests. Even if that means not fighting for their deserved child support. It’s hard for these women to bond together because

“When you put two or three broken people together who lack faith in humanity they cannot be bonded together. It’s so hard to find value in what our life has become and stay sane.”

Rise from the Roots

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Alexsandra wants to make Mothers into Spiritual Gangsters. What does that mean? For every scary, controversial thing that happens to a Mother, whether it be a divorce, a job loss, the hardships of raising children, unexpected life turns, instead of hiding, denying or collapsing into yourself, Alexsandra challenges each of you to “show up and have the gut strength to walk into the fire. You will get bumps and bruises but like a phoenix you will rise from the ashes. That is a Spiritual Gangster.”
Alexsandra is a driving force to be a beacon for the Mother who never fit in, for the Mother who does not know how to stand on her own two feet after a divorce, for the little child who deserves MORE. She will walk each painful step with you and help you join a community that cares. Motivating Other Mothers  is your light when there is darkness. Narrate your new survival story with Alexsandra, plant yourself in muddy waters and blossom.

Alexsandra is an executive, a motivator, a beacon for thousands of women already, but at the end of it all, when the day has ended, she is, most of all, a woman that consciously and wholeheartedly loves her son, and her selfless and dedicated work is testimony of that love. Join her on this game changing journey and begin the path of MOTIVATION.

Author: thebabyspotca

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