Lower Your Expectations

Nov 28, 2013 | Stacy Matson | Celebrity Health
Lower Your Expectations

image by: pexels

Sharing the holiday with other people, and feeling that you’re giving of yourself, gets you past all the commercialism – Caroline Kennedy

Holidays...the “most wonderful time of the year," we all know that's a joke because it's actually the most stressful time of the year. Maybe it's because every year we go into them with unrealistic expectations which can leave us feeling impatient, cranky, let down, and overburdened.

For most people, the holidays conjure up all sorts of mixed feelings. We want to spend time with our family and friends, and we might even enjoy the food preparation, shopping, decorating, and social obligations. However, we also feel pressured to do everything “just right" and we're told over and over that we should be "grateful for what we have" this time of year because so many go without.

Honestly though, sometimes it's difficult to be grateful for what "I have." Especially this time of year because all I do is obsess about the things that I don't have. I don't have enough time, wine glasses, plates, money, gifts, bedrooms for overnight guests, etc. For me, this creates a whole lot of stress, which usually means I will come down with a cold right around Christmas Eve.

Stress affects our bodies in negative ways…mood swings, depression, digestive issues, heart problems, high blood pressure, insomnia, weight gain, it weakens your immune system, and perhaps most disturbing, it causes premature skin aging.

I know I'm not the only one that feels stressed out, and recently there have been a slew of celebrities who have dealt with scary medical issues or who have been hospitalized.

Tori Spelling was recently hospitalized for stress and anxiety. The mother of four said she was overwhelmed by the negative feedback she received for comments she made in her new book. She said the backlash shocked her and made her feel incredibly anxious and depressed. Spelling has since been released from the hospital and will resume her book tour after the holidays.

Chris Brown suffered a non-epileptic seizure that was brought on by extreme emotional stress. His publicist says the "stress is due to the continued onslaught of unfounded legal matters and nonstop negativity." I'm not sure I feel sorry for him though as he does seem to be the cause of most of the stress in his life...

Wyclef Jean was hospitalized for stress and fatigue. In a statement the former Fugees singer said, "It has been an extremely grueling, exhausting eight weeks. I am currently suffering the effects of lack of sleep, stress, global travel, and the endless scrutiny of the public eye." After his release from the hospital, Jean said he took several weeks off so that he would be healthy enough to help rebuild Haiti.

Mariah Carey reportedly had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized twice for stress and exhaustion in the past few years.

Demi Moore was admitted to the hospital after a 911 call was made from her home. In a statement, her publicist said, "Because of the stresses in her life right now, Demi has chosen to seek professional assistance to treat her exhaustion and stress to improve her overall health."

Rosie O'Donnell blames her recent heart attack on the stress she felt while her wife was in the hospital. She said, “I spent 40 nights in the hospital with her on a cot, and during that time I ate nothing but sugar and I was not taking care of myself, and I was in extreme emotional distress to see her in so much physical pain." Shortly after her wife was released from the hospital O'Donnell had her heart attack.

Think about this, when you're feeling pressured, overwhelmed, anxious, or totally frazzled - you must find ways to deal with the stress. 

  • Learn how to say no. No is powerful and allows you to set boundaries.
  • Avoid people who stress you out. This includes crazy Uncle Charlie or your friend from middle school who needs to borrow $5...If someone is a great source of stress limit the amount of time you spend with them.
  • Scale back on your to-do list. Analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and obligations and then remove a few. It will be OK if your holiday work party is missing one more plate of over-baked cookies.
  • Eat dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is filled with flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants that can minimize your risk of heart disease and lowers blood pressure. This also applies to red wine, so drink some of that too. 
  • Take a hot bath and read trashy magazines. While you are in there you might as well bring in a hunk of chocolate and a glass of wine, too.
  • Save some money by re-gifting those cruddy gifts you got last year to the same person who gave them to you. It'll be fun to watch them squirm.

If none of these options appeal to you, put on a pair of sweatpants and tell everyone you have a cold. Not one person will want to be around you or want you to cook their food. Then pour yourself a glass of wine and eat some chocolate.

Finally, although the holiday season may have just started, remember, this too shall pass. In the meantime may they be healthy and stress-free.

Stacy Matson, a health enthusiast from Southern California, regularly blogs on Celebrity Health for A Healthier World, as well as contributing to the Best of the Best.

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