Christmas, Stress and Dating
While the Festive Season is supposed to be full of merriment and cheer it has also become synonymous with stress and if you aren’t careful you may find that you are really struggling to cope. It’s especially dangerous if you have become used to a stressful life stye – you become disconnected from yourself and your body, until it’s too late.
I worked with someone recently who, over a period of years, had not learned how to deal with his stress. He did what you often do when trying to sort out a problem. You keep using the same strategies – you keep doing ‘more of the same’ – even when it isn’t working. He just kept pushing himself.
My client’s stress got so bad that he couldn’t cope at all with his job anymore. The frenzy and expectations around Christmas added to the pressure, and his partner of five years had had enough and had informed him that she was leaving. My client had hit rock bottom, couldn’t cope – was signed off work and referred to me. He had to finally acknowledge that he had to do something.
There is enough research now that shows a link between stress and poorer mental and physical health. Too much stress can make you sick.
While dating can be a great relief to the everyday stresses you face, allowing you to take time off, relax, laugh, and just have fun – it can also be stressful, and especially during the festive season.
If you’re feeling a bit burned out and are finding that dating is a negative experience then STOP!
Maybe it’s time to use this Christmas to relax, slow down, catch your breath, nourish and nurture yourself - you can always start dating again in the New Year.
If you keep dating while you are stressed out you set up a vicious cycle:
- Dating while stressed can lead to a poor self-image because stress and self-esteem are definitely inter-related. When you are stressed and don’t feel like you are coping well, you don’t feel very good about who you are. When you don’t feel good about yourself, you tend to be less choosy about who you date (and especially when the alcohol is flowing during the festive season).
- When you are stressed, you experience your world much differently than if the lens is clear. Small mistakes or blunders during your date become magnified. You are also more likely to contribute to a stressful atmosphere and because you are stressed out, you expect the date to be stressful – which of course it then becomes.
- Likewise, when you are stressed out, you tend to feel more sensitive and it’s too easy to take each ‘rejection’ too personal and too hard.
• When you are stressed, you also feel more vulnerable. When you feel vulnerable, you put up your defences – hardly a recipe for finding your ideal partner.
I remember, having just come out of a relationship that was quite traumatic, and being on an intensive self-development course. Later on as the participants got to know each other and I was feeling ‘safer’, one of the men said to me, “When I first met you, I was afraid to approach you – it was like you had this sign on you that was screaming– ‘Don’t Come Near Me!’” And the scary thing for me hearing this was that I had no idea I was giving off this vibe! Not good news if you are out dating, is it?
If you find that you are stressed out, give yourself permission to STOP and take time for YOU!
Dating can and should be enjoyable and fun – and you can make it that way if you look after yourself!