Mentoring, Stress, and the Holiday Season

Mentoring Stress Holiday Season
stephen hobbs

From the Desk of: 

Doug Lawrence
Director Education & Outreach  

Mentoring... Stress... Holiday Season 

The Holiday season brings back sad memories for me as it was just prior to Christmas that my Mom went to a better place. She had fought a courageous battle with cancer and sadly lost that battle.

I spend a lot of time at this time of the year reflecting back on all the good times that we had. The family dinners, the laughter, the tears of happiness as family and friends came together to share the holiday season.

February 6th marks another time of sadness as that was the date that my dear wife lost her battle with cancer. It will be a year – February 6th, 2022.

It seems strange to me that a lot of what I experienced is now happening for others as well.

Mental health illnesses jumped to the forefront and we are forced to deal with these life challenges at a time when we would prefer to be celebrating with family and friends.

We have family gatherings and there is an empty seat at the dinner table. We struggle with dealing with the emotions that are rushing through our bodies as we search for answers to the question “why?”

We then add to this mix of emotions the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Increased traffic volumes with people who are bent and determined to get to a shopping mall before anyone else. Road rage seems to have found a new high as it relates to bad behaviour.

Everywhere that you turn there are people all in a hurry to get their shopping done most without a smile and most with no patience at all. A lot of this negative energy isn’t left at the shopping mall and is brought home or taken to the work place.

Perhaps all this negative energy is what fuels the health challenges that we seem to see more of at this time of the year. We know that negative energy drains us and has a huge impact on our immune system but yet we are challenged to manage it in a way that would minimize the amount of negative energy that we are dealing with.

All of this negative energy can have a bigger impact on us as we get older. It can increase that stress level and can expediate the impact of mental health challenges that we are dealing with. It can even escalate the onset of dementia.

I know all too well how this can happen when you look at abusive relationships in older couples.

Mentoring and Holidays

I have spent some time with some wonderful folks in a mentoring relationship and we have talked a lot about the holiday season, stress and stress in general and the impact that it was having on them.

There was this sense of despair over buying gifts, preparing family meals, trying to be everywhere for everyone and getting to a point where the holiday season was more of a burden than a joyous time where family and friends celebrate.

We talked about how all of this impacted them and I heard the word “stress” in a lot of situations. There are mixed opinions as to whether or not stress is real.

At one time point I use to tell people that it was something they manifested. I have come to realize that it is a real thing and it does have an impact on us.

The thing to remember though is that you do have control over your stress. You are able to manage how you deal with it and the outcomes that it could have on you and your mental well-being.  

We can allow the situation that we are dealing with to control us or we can decide to take control of it ourselves. I am sure that you can think of some personal examples that you are dealing with right now. You are in control and can manage what the outcome will look like.

Consideration

Sharing a perspective:

  • I believe I can train my body to manage the stressors that I have to face on a daily basis.
  • I can manage and influence the outcomes. 
  • I believe that my mentors can provide powerful insight into how I might manage those stressors.  
  • I have reached out to my mentors to share my feelings and have been guided by their advice. 

And so - You can reach out to your mentor and do much the same thing. 

If you do not have a mentor here is yet another reason why mentoring is so powerful – “The Gift of Mentoring” is just that – “a gift” and you need to embrace that “gift”. 

Its okay to ask for help. It is time to reach out and do just that, “ask for help” and be guided by that advice.

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