Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Holiday Stress Management: Four Tips to Help You Enjoy

Decking the halls and spreading good cheer can be stressful. Here are some tips to make sure you enjoy every last fa la la.

1. Stay Centered. An energized and peaceful holiday season is possible only when you can keep your priorities straight. Take a pen and paper and ask yourself: What do you value, above all else? What comes second? Third? How important is your spirituality, your family, your profession, your time for yourself? After some thought and reflection, rank your top priorities on a Post it Note where you will see it throughout the day. (Mine is on my computer monitor). Refer to your list when asked to make commitments and compromises. If the request does not jibe with your list, you do not only have permission, you have an obligation, to say no.

This list of priorities may set the course for new holiday traditions, as well. Maybe you will donate toys, books, and food to charities. Maybe you will help serve dinner at a homeless shelter in lieu of a holiday meal.

2. Indulge the ghost of Christmas Past. What memories immediately come forth that evoke a fond nostalgia? For me, it is not the gifts or the shopping or even the parties. It is rocking my infant, alone, by candlelight, to "Silent Night." It is letting my 2 year old crack the eggs for the cookies, and seeing the pride on her floury face.

Decide what the holidays really mean to you. What is really important? Then make a plan to weave more of those activities into your holidays, and reduce the rest.

3. Deck the Halls with Light and Love. Do not let commercialism spoil your fun. Make the simple promise to yourself that, this year, you will actually enjoy your holiday shopping. Brainstorm ways you can make this happen. For me, the mall is a giant energy drain. The look of worried resignation as a shopper hands over her credit card tells me that she is shopping out of a sense of obligation and not one of joy. And it sours my holiday spirit.

Instead, I carve out an afternoon all to myself. I put on an Andrea Bocelli CD, sip Chai tea from a giant mug, and curl up with a fleece blanket to surf the Internet and page through catalogs. That is how I find just the right something for everyone on my list. When it ceases to be fun, I stop. I so enjoy shopping this way that, throughout the year, I bookmark sites that offer just the right items.

If you find the materialism of the season draining your energy, commit to making an attitude shift. If you want things to be different this year, only you can make it so. Take the lead for your family, and live in such a way that you prove less stuff really does equal more fun.

Maybe you will take the money you usually spend on one too many toys and enjoy, instead, a weekend family getaway. Maybe you will make homemade goodies, such as picture frames, home movies, or goodie baskets, which the whole family helps to create.

Maybe you will bag the traditional gift giving and start a new tradition. In our family, it goes like this: Each guest brings a wrapped gift of roughly the same dollar value. We sit in a circle and each person, in turn, has the option of taking a gift that is already been opened or opening a new one. It is fun, festive, it gets everyone moving and talking, and it switches the focus to the relationships and the event...not the gifts.

4. Start early, plan well, and take care of yourself. Here are some tips:

Simplify as much as possible. Use paper plates. Eat out. If a holiday tradition is old and tired, reinvigorate it or start a new tradition of staying at home.

Plan ahead. To help, chances are, your favorite food website has a checklist for big holiday events.

Replenish your natural energy by taking care of your body. Eat right. Exercise (in the crisp outdoors once in a while). Drink plenty of water. Sleep.

Energize your image. Give yourself an early holiday gift or a great haircut, a brow shaping, a pedicure with bright red polish, or a free makeover at your favorite cosmetics counter and a purchase of the most vibrant lipstick shade you will actually wear.

Decorate with items of comfort and joy. Display photographs from past holiday celebrations. Keep in full view reminders that you take care of yourself...fresh flowers, indulgent hand cream, inspiring music, and energizing scents, such as citrus or peppermint.

Spend the season with your most energetic friends. Instead of letting the Scrooges in your life yank you down, send them something sweet from a Secret Santa. A little anonymous enchantment may be just what they need.

Keep a "Joy Journal" this holiday season, in which you record the funny things your kids say, joyful times you share, your favorite things to do with your family (and by yourself), and all the things for which you are grateful. Use your Joy Journal as a reminder of the facets of your life (and this holiday season) that are really important.

Susie Cortright is the founder of Momscape.com - http://www.momscape.com and Susies-Coupons.com, http://www.susies- coupons.com where she hand picks only the very best online coupons, including sites that offer free gifts with purchase: http://www.susies-coupons.com/free-stuff.htm

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

How To Help A Child With Stress

If you think that you can ever frame a perfect set of rules to control children, you are mistaken. Give them maximum freedom for that is the real way to control them. Various tricks have to be employed at the appropriate time to bring children under control. A kid with lots of anger is a problem. It indeed reflects lots of stress and frustration in the child.

To help child manage his stress, it is necessary first to locate the source of its negative emotions. The question of management arises when you know what exactly is to be managed.

It is wrong to suppress the feelings of child, positive or negative, with force. Every age has some special activities related to it. Let the child enjoy his age. Childhood arrives, but once in a lifetime. In your life time and his life time!

Now, the question arise how to help child manage the stress? You can manage the anger and frustration of child gradually. Find out the stressors and act accordingly. The child must be taught what needs to be watched and monitored to debar stress. Reward the good deeds and punish the bad ones.

But then, punishing the children is not an easy task. Therefore, you find the parents especially the mothers on the look out and she is ever ready to accept revised suggestions from the experienced elders, educators and community leaders. Children will be children. What matters is how do you handle them during those moments of outbursts. Notwithstanding all the latitude that you show, the child needs to know that you mean discipline and that you will implement it with lots of strictness.

There is a special method to handle them. By experience, you know what are the routine problems of your child. With force being ruled out, diplomacy and tact should be your tools to achieve the objective. Listen to them patiently, let them empty their complaint basket first. And give them the appropriate suggestions to solve these problems.

Let the child know when you will love them and when they are likely to be punished.

Parenting teens is no ordinary challenge. Many a times you become frustrated and you yourself need stress management tips. This is the crucial time, when children spend most of the time in your company and their ideal and idol are you. You need to set a perfect example regarding any matter, so that they can emulate you!

About the Author: Ashish Jain, writes about a number of different topics. For more information on stress management visit
http://www.aboutstressmanagement.com/stressrelief/ and also visit the article page: http://www.aboutstressmanagement.com/stressrelief/blogs/children-and-stress.htm

Labels: ,

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Anxiety: A Lifelong Challenge

There are many people that suffer from one form or another of anxiety. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, a recognized authority on various mental health issues, about 17 to 20% of the American population may suffer some type of anxiety disorder. Given the current state of the country, society and the world at large, this is not surprising.

GAD, or generalized anxiety disorder, is like being in a chronic or continued state of worry and anxiety. This can be a specific as a mother's concern for her child who walks to school everyday. Or as general as being constantly worried about anything or everything you need to do during the day. Understand we are not talking about general concern about safety crossing the street.

In the example above of the mother being worried about her child, someone with an anxiety disorder may not even be able to consider allowing their child to walk to school. The idea of their son or daughter walking along a public sidewalk and possibly even crossing a street is just too terrifying to bear. This type of behavior can also have long-term consequences that can negatively impact the child.

Understand that there are varying degrees of almost any mental illness. While most people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder are able to continue to function, some are paralyzed by the fear of making any decision.

I have a relative who has refused to seek treatment for years and has continued to spiral down into a morass of mental disorders. While many in the family considered her mental state and decision making ability simply "quirky", in hindsight, there were many signs of mental illness. These unfortunately were ignored because although there were both mental and physical symptoms, she was still able to function and continue on in her daily life.

While her family members continued to dismiss her many symptoms as personality traits, she developed ever more serious symptoms. As years went by the family was required to modify their personal interactions to placate the situation and keep her in a somewhat safe place. This in turn allowed the spiral to continue and the symptoms to worsen. While at first this family member suffered with GAD, over the years her condition worsened to where she now shows signs of depression, obsessive-compulsive characteristics, paranoia and panic.

She is now almost unable to make any decision at all. And lives in a constant state of anxiety and worry about the possibility of making a mistake or wrong decision. In attempting to work through a decision-making scenario, she will consistently develop situations where all answers are potentially wrong and therefore put herself in a state of constant and continued worry.

She appears to be developing signs of paranoia and now demonstrates a lack of trust toward everyone. Her days are filled with emotional anxiety while picking and pulling at her hair and eyebrows. Fitful sleep comes only from emotional exhaustion.

The moral of the story is that everyone should understand the basics symptoms of the most common mental disorders. Although only a qualified professional can accurately diagnose mental illness, we should be able to recognize the symptoms if only to encourage people we know to get help. If you or a loved one may be suffering from anxiety or depression, you owe it to yourself to understand the symptoms and get help as soon as possible.

About the Author: Abigail Franks writes on a variety of subjects which include depression and anxiety. Visit her site for more information on
depression and anxiety disorders

Labels: , , ,