The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Be wary of stress over holidays, public health official implores

By Myisha Henderson/reporter

The holiday season is supposed to be a time of giving, spending time with loved ones and lots of food, but stress levels may rise during the festivities, SE students learned during Stress Awareness and Management Nov. 10.

The holiday season presents many demands, said Sherry Williams of Tarrant County Public Health. It’s common to feel the need to plan parties, buy presents, prepare extravagant dinners or volunteer excessively, she said. However, people should listen to their bodies and watch for the warning signs of stress.

These signs, listed in a handout Williams provided, include dry mouth, headache and back tension, rapid heartbeat, sleeping disorders, loss of appetite and lack of concentration and memory.

Many people feel pressured to live by certain standards, and when those standards seem unreasonable, stress can build, she said. Life is one’s own personal journey and should not be wasted by living to please someone else’s expectations, Williams said. She called this the “Superman complex.”

“Things don’t always go the way we plan or intend for them to,” she said. “But it’s important to learn to go with the flow of life.”

In other areas of life, the Superman complex can dictate goals. For example, many students feel pressured to graduate in four years.

“With my first degree, I graduated in five years,” said business student Carolyn Edmonson. “I felt almost like a failure because it took so long.”

During the holiday season, the Superman complex can devastate the body and mind. To avoid this, students should not overextend their money or themselves, Williams said.

Holidays are too often associated with gift-giving, but no one wants to go into debt to buy presents, and no one likes the reality of not having enough money to buy presents for loved ones, Williams said. Students should not let themselves fall prey to this myth, she said.

In addition, Williams said too much or not enough togetherness, eating, drinking and spending can decrease holiday spirit. Learning to balance the stressful parts may seem hard at first but will be worth it, she said.

Stress is a part of everyday life and cannot be avoided, but unrelieved stress can lead to an accidental injury, Williams said.

Williams demonstrated several different exercises that can relieve stress. For instance, extending fingers, rolling back the shoulders and bending the back are a few ways to remove the physical burdens of stress. Daily activities, such as eating meals, should not be taken for granted, she said.

“Remember, life has a meaning and a purpose,” she said. “Happy people live longer.”

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