I hear every year around the holidays how many become extremely stressful during these times. To be sure, I think it has happened to most at some time in their lives until they realize whether personal or economic, there is no reason for said stress. So how do we create a stress-free holiday?
I am no psychologist just someone who lived through his own tribulations and learned from those of others. While easier said than implemented, the answer is simple, do not attempt to change anyone or anything during this short period. Instead go with the flow.
Most of my Progressive friends surprisingly are from very Conservative Right Wing families. Many come from outright and outward racist families. To these friends, they've earned
Many have told me how they dread going home because they will either get into arguments as they push back on family members. Others don't want to be the object of their families' shallow ridicule.
I give them the same advice I give myself. My family is my family and I love them to death. I do not like all of their beliefs. I discuss issues with them on an individual basis but not at family gatherings. I make sure to show unmitigated love even as I disagree with them. I abandon discussions when the other side decides to get argumentative instead of conversational. The goal, the idea is if you cherish a conversation with me at all, it won't be a shouting match but a dialogue. That philosophy alone changes the atmosphere many times. Most importantly, it reduces stress because you know that is your permanent modus operandi.
Economic stress can be more difficult to overcome especially during the holidays. One must remember that based on our national statistics where 80% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, economic issues are a reality for most. One problem in America is that we are a country of people who suffer in silence. I recently covered this on a Politics Done Right episode where I explained the pathology of the plight of a woman who got a $0.40 raise over the last 13 years.
Within ourselves, we must realize that for most of us, our financial situation is a function of having a terrible economic system. The titans of finance designed our system to entice us to live beyond our means to enrich a few. They do it with both psychological cues and coercion. It is wrong that we have an economy based on exploiting the weaknesses few can resist.
Once we understand the realities mentioned above, it is easy to first remove any stigma or shame from whatever financial condition we find ourselves in currently. That should relieve some of our economic stress. To be clear, I am not trying to give ourselves a pass for whatever our situation. Instead, I am stating that our system encourages that behavior. Once understood, we can modify our behavior feeling no guilt or shame. We do the best we can to improve our situation. If we at least have food, shelter, and clothing, nothing else matters as we make changes to our condition at the pace we can.
During these holidays that eventually merge into the New Year, resolve yourself to change your outlook in a manner that satisfies you. We all have the ability to do so no matter our current situation. And where necessary do not fear asking for help and advice.
Know that stress fixes nothing. Being proactive in handling one's situation is all one can do. So do it stress free.