Beat­ing hol­i­day stress

The ‘merry’ sea­son can leave many peo­ple burned out

Weekend Witness - - News - SHARIKA REGCHAND

‘TIS the sea­son to be jolly, yet many peo­ple are stressed out at this time of the year.

So­ci­etal pres­sures, fam­ily com­mit­ments or just be­ing alone over the hol­i­days can be enough to leave one tied in a knot. And then there’s hav­ing to work! Lo­cal in­dus­trial psy­chol­o­gist, Kav­isha Naidoo, said that while so­ci­etal pres­sure dic­tates that hol­i­days should be about re­lax­ation, to­geth­er­ness and ease, it is far from that.

The “merry” sea­son can leave peo­ple stressed out for count­less rea­sons rang­ing from not hav­ing enough money to buy gifts, to not want­ing to in­ter­act with fam­ily and friends with whom there is con­flict.

Re­search has shown that women bear the worst of the brunt, she said.

“They are con­cerned about chores, shop­ping, etc., some women may even be­come very con­cerned about the nitty gritty of things like hav­ing the per­fect Christ­mas cards,” said Naidoo.

It can also be stress­ful for peo­ple who have to work such as truck driv­ers, cashiers, those in re­tail, doc­tors and other pro­fes­sion­als.

Also, the hol­i­days can be lonely for those who have lost loved ones or are away from their fam­i­lies.

While it is dif­fi­cult to jug­gle work and fam­ily, Naidoo ad­vises those in a jam to ask for as­sis­tance and get ad­di­tional Be­ing at work dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son can be stress­ful. PHOTO: IAN CARBUTT help where they can.

“There is no per­fect recipe to jug­gle work and home life de­mands.

“How­ever, ev­ery in­di­vid­ual has their own means to adapt and cope whether it is by ex­er­cis­ing, med­i­tat­ing or ask­ing for and re­ceiv­ing as­sis­tance. They can also have a care­giver to as­sist with the chil­dren, em­ploy a do­mes­tic worker for run­ning ad­di­tional chores, do shop­ping in ad­vance and also de­pend on spouses, friends or fam­ily,” she said.

She urged peo­ple to try and not use “un­healthy mech­a­nisms” to cope with hol­i­day stress such as sleep­ing less or be­ing de­pen­dent on en­ergy and high­caf­feine drinks and med­i­ca­tion.

“It is im­por­tant to just con­sider that Christ­mas hol­i­days pro­vide some down time. Con­sider shar­ing the meal prepa­ra­tions or keep­ing things sim­ple.

“Spend time with fam­ily and friends and/or in­vest in your­self by read­ing a book, catch up on an old hobby, walk or ex­er­cise, cook a new meal, do some­thing novel.

“Do not beat your­self up if all does not go well,” she cau­tions.

Doc­tor Dan Moodley of St Anne’s Hos­pi­tal ex­plained the ef­fects of stress on the body.

Re­sults of “per­pet­ual stress” in­clude im­pa­tience, ag­gres­sion, sweati­ness, breath­less­ness, blood pres­sure and sud­den death, he said.

Too much stress re­sults in “burnout which is a state of fa­tigue or frus­tra­tion brought about by de­vo­tion to a cause or way of life”, said Moodley.

The ef­fects of stress can be emo­tional, men­tal, health re­lated, phys­i­cal, be­havourial or or­gan­i­sa­tional.

He added that stress-re­lated dis­or­ders in­clude ul­cers, arthri­tis, hy­per­ten­sion, asthma, de­pres­sion, sex­ual prob­lems, strokes and di­a­betes.

One op­tion to deal with stress is home­opa­thy. Homeopath, Dr Ge­orgina Anne Makris, said that home­o­pathic reme­dies are based on min­er­als, plants and an­i­mal ma­te­rial.

“It’s in a di­luted form that stim­u­lates the body to get bet­ter,” she said.

Makris said that while home­opa­thy can help peo­ple deal with stress nat­u­rally, treat­ment has to be in­di­vid­u­alised by a pro­fes­sional.

She also rec­om­mends that stressed peo­ple take Vi­ta­min B tablets and also per­haps Bach flower rem­edy res­cue, which al­le­vi­ates anx­i­ety. [email protected]­ness.co.za

There is no per­fect recipe to jug­gle work and home life de­mands.

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