7 Types of Stress: Holiday Survival Guide

While great fun, the holidays can be a stressful time of year. This post is a reminder that we can slow down, take time for ourselves and that we may need to do so more than ever right now. In fact, it is what these contemplative winter celebrations were originally intended for prior to their extreme commercialization.

Still, the modern questions remain. How to cope with stress during the holidays? How do we invite healing into our lives during this time of year?

I often say that when it comes to healing, “there is no formula.”  However, I have cultivated specific habits that serve my healing well. Now I listen to my body which means establishing boundaries with myself.

Along the way to physical deterioration, I didn’t listen –a product of my own incongruence and wishful thinking.  I wished I was in better overall health and condition than I really was. Now I stop and remember –just because I can do it, doesn’t mean it’s good for me. That’s a good boundary for me.  My new discipline is to be a bit under-active.  Stop whatever it is I am doing before I am fatigued –a useful rule of thumb for the holidays.

Here are 7 types of stress which we can be mindful of during the holidays and year round!

  1. Poor Eating Habits
    Processed foods, high sugar consumption, foods with hormones and antibiotics
  2. Food Allergies
    Eating food that makes your body go into a defensive mode
  3. Emotional Stress
    Toxic relationships, interactions, and thought processing
  4. Sleep Deprivation
    That’s key for me, I need 9 hours per night minimum, and have since childhood
  5. Lack of Exercise
    I remember years of sitting in my office, not giving my body ample time to move
  6. Over Exercise
    I recall years of running 5 miles a day, not the best type of movement for my constitution
  7. Toxic Exposures
    Pesticides, mercury, heavy metals, parabens, BPA, and more

Stress adds up and chips away at our well being, until we find ourselves in ill health. Years of stress can get us to a point of (what seems like) no return.

I remember after my diagnosis, I was inconsolable (though that’s another story). It took tons of patience and dedication (the dedication to slow down and become competitive about things like sleeping, rather than my more preferred modes of accomplishment).  I had to fool my monkey mind. Patience helps me feel better, even feel good, and helps me to make the choices that serve me best.

To understand the diversity of choices in front of me, I had to slow down and simply listen. This is a gift that we can all give ourselves during the holiday season. So don’t wait until January to think about yourself and how you want to shift your life. You can give yourself the gift of self-care right now.


19 responses to “7 Types of Stress: Holiday Survival Guide”

  1. How did you discern the appropriate amount of exercise/movement for you? I am asking because I need to figure that out for myself.

  2. Hi Elana,

    I’m a long-time fan of your blog & books. You’ve been invaluable source of education, support, and healing (thank you). I hope you can help the Celiac community sign a petition for better Celiac education and awareness on behalf of an 11 year old girl. Here is the link to the petition through http://www.change.org:


  3. I’m also someone that needs around 9 hours of sleep. Our culture pushes everyone to multi-task but simplicity is better for the heart and spirit. Family gatherings cause a great deal of stress and as a psychotherapist it is often the focus of many sessions in december due to fears of direct or subtle criticisms that are anticipated.

  4. I am comforted to know that I’m not the only one that needs at least 9 hours of sleep a night. I’ve spent years resisting this fact, especially when others around me – including my husband – downplays the importance of it. Thanks for reminding us to stick up for what we need!

  5. You could add the stress of your your husband’s double by-pass heart surgery on November 8, 2012. He is healing well and doesn’t know that he will be following a Paelo low sodium diet. Since our ancestors didn’t have raady access to salt he will be getting 2 grams of sodium or 1tsp salt daily.

    When my naturpathic physican put me on a Paelo diet to “cure” Multiple Chemical Sensitivities I though she was crazy. When the Toxoligist MD physican said to give it a try I knew she was not crazy, crazy but crazy like a fox. The Toxoligist, MD said, “I have seen many hopeless cases correcty within 12 of following a strict Paleo Diet. Go easy on the salt, our ancestors didn’t eat/have a lot of salt.” Am going back to my naturpathic physican and asking to become her patient again. I shall apologize for my comment to her, “Dr. Francis, that is the craziest thing I have ever heard. I will go to a real Dr who specializes in Toxology for some expert advise on Multiple Chemical Sensitivities.” I believe it is called Crow and what kind of sauce should i serve with Baked Crow.

    Elena can you please add a spell check to your comments section. I threw away my dictionary 6 months ago.

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