Deal With Stress

One Woman’s Brutal War On Holiday Stress! (…An Open Letter To Clear Your Stress Readers)

At the tiThis woman needs to release her holiday stressme of this writing it is exactly twelve days until Christmas. I apologize to all those at ClearYourStress for not being able to contribute lately, but my laptop was stolen several weeks ago. Now with that being said, I got it back 3 days later- but as you can imagine it caused a great deal of stress. My computer is literally my life. It has all my photos, my articles, and personal information on it. As I am not a hacker, I literally had no way of getting it back except to pound the streets. So I did.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks doing basic repairs and collecting and saving all my information in the event that it is stolen again (or worse) I won’t be so stressed – so basically all I’ve thought about is how to decompress at literally the most stressful time of the year.

Not only was my laptop stolen, but the youth group I work with and I have been planning an event called “Spread Some Love”, which is an amazing day of literally handing out Christmas cards to random strangers across Vancouver BC. I’m very excited, but I still have yet to do a thousand things I need to do to get ready.

On top of all that, I have less than a month to apply for our SNBG youth group to go to Vancouver gay pride – a deadline I found out about less than an hour ago.

Added to all of this, I am working 12 hour shifts at the homeless shelter, preparing for a massive Christmas dinner for which we are expecting close to 2000 people this year between guests, volunteers and staff, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and then of course dealing with all the obligatory Family stuff I have to do.  This includes my new family of brother and sisters I only just recently found out I had.  Talk about holiday stress!

So as you can imagine, there has been just a list of things that would normally stress me out to the point of inability to see straight (let alone breathe), one would think. However I am not stressed. I refuse to allow myself to be stressed………..crap as I write this I just remembered I haven’t even begun my Christmas shopping.  But no, I still am not stressed, and I will tell you why.

Even though I have a list of things to do all, with very short deadlines, and a lot of people counting on me (including shopping for about twelve people I want to make sure know are loved), I have decided the first thing I am going to do the moment everything becomes a little too much is to go for a massage.

Yup. In the midst of all the crazy, in the middle of all the drama that the month of December brings, I refuse to allow myself to get stressed out, because I have come to the conclusion that feeling anything is a decision.

We have the power within us to decide how we are going to react to any one given situation and I refuse to give power to the emotion of stress.

I am going into 2014 with a calm peaceful bliss, with no other weapon than the power of choice. I know this may be difficult, but think about it for a moment – how many times a day does something happen where you stop and think about how you are going to react? Your son has been expelled from school, but rather than ream him out in front of everyone you wait until you get home. You have a bad day at work but you smile and nod your way through it until you get home to open the wine and shed the tears.

There are a thousand different ways in which we pause before we act, choosing our words or actions carefully. This year I am simply choosing to do so quickly, before the stress hits.   I am going in armed and ready for war against stress because I can.

I am aware of how stressed I can get, how much pressure I can take,  and how many times a day I look up and scream “are you serious? I can’t take this anymore” – only to find that once the hair pulling situation is over, it wasn’t that bad after all.

In the mall where I live there is this very lovely place that offers shiatsu massage at very reasonable prices. So I suggest while you are in the midst of all your craziness and your family drama (we all have some) you take some time for yourself, get your hair done, get a massage – hell, stop and paint your toes if you want to, but yet again I suggest that it is more important than ever to take some time for yourself.

I’d be interested to hear your holiday tale of woe, so please leave a comment sharing it,  as well as any advice you have for coping with the stress of the holidays.  Or the rest of the year.


Devon Hallgate (Syn) is a proud strong and wise warrior woman that decided a long time ago she was not going to let the limitations and labels other people put on her define her life.  She is the founder of and Finding Ohna. 

7 replies on “One Woman’s Brutal War On Holiday Stress! (…An Open Letter To Clear Your Stress Readers)”

Devon, thanks for sharing your December! It is always such a busy time for me, and I do let the stress get to me sometimes, in spite of knowing that it undermines the peaceful message of Christmas. When I feel it building next time, I’;ll remind myself of all that you have going on and the great attitude you’ve maintained. I might even take your suggestion and get a massage! 🙂

We all have a lot going on, it just differs depending on who we are Angela. You don’t need to compare yourself to me to justify taking some time off. I DO suggest getting that massage though because oh my goodness does it feel amazing. It helps my masseuse looks like Channing Tatum 😛

Merry Christmas

Ok that’s it! I have NEVER indulged in a massage and I think it’s about time I do! However I have treated myself to pedicures which do tend to relax me and make me feel good. I’m thinking a gift certificate for a massage though might be on my wish list 😉

Hi Sue

Why not? My mom has arthritis in her spine so I take her for a massage once a month and well I wait I indulge. I have learned I look forward to those massages – not only do they relax me but physically I feel much better, my stress level has gone way down, my headaches have stopped – hey I’ve even started eating better because my masseuse told me that certain foods help rid your body of excess stress.

I hope you get that Christmas Massage,

All my love,

Hi Devon,
I love this line in your post especially, “We have the power within us to decide how we are going to react to any one given situation.” This is a powerful realization, that, if we can keep it with us consistently, transforms how we relate to whatever is happening inside and around us.
Thanks for sharing,

Hi Kevin,

I’m really glad you caught that. I wholeheartedly believe it to be true – just like I believe that although we have the power to choose how we will react some of us (me) have to constantly remind ourselves of that fact lol.

I’m really glad you enjoyed the article, but I’m curious how do you deal with stress?

All my love

great article. very much enjoyed it. I miss the show you used to do with that, might I say, very knowledgeable and handsome sounding co-host (wink wink)

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