Stress during the holidays

  • Published
  • By Vera Ensalaco
  • 445th Airlift Wing Director of Psychological Health

Blue Christmas isn’t just a song by Elvis. It actually is a fairly common reaction to the upcoming holidays.

Many things can add to our mood during the holidays. Internal and external pressures lead to stress. There is stress, distress and eustress.

Stress is an everyday thing. Eustress is the stress from the happier times in life like the birth of a baby, new home, relationship, holidays, vacations, events and parties. All of these can be warmly anticipated and add pressure. Distress is when we become overwhelmed and there is a negative effect on us.

You may have someone gone this holiday season as well. Maybe, you have a child off to college, someone is deployed, someone has moved, or sadly someone (or you) becomes ill, or you may have lost someone.

All these things can add to our emotional well-being, and ultimately, how we function day by day. We cannot always control things that happen around us; though, we can control how we react to them.

There are some good ways to deal with pressure and there are some not-so-good ways. We can begin to not take care of ourselves in ways such as poor diet, lack of exercise, isolation, substance misuse, etc.

It’s okay to splurge or miss a workout. Have a few cookies, just not the entire box (need to make a mental note of this myself).

It’s okay if we miss a workout, maybe just move more the next day. Be gentle with yourself if you find yourself off track. You know where the track is and can get back on it.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, hurting, grieving, needing someone to talk with, please reach out. Reach out to a trusted colleague, supervisor, someone from one of our helping agencies such as a chaplain, resiliency sergeant, military and family readiness, this office.

We wish you the very best holiday season and want you to know that we are here for you.