Take care …holiday stress can kill you
Written by Robert D. Sollars
We have all heard innumerable reports about the stress that surrounds and infiltrates the holidays. And I think we can all agree that the amount of stress, personal, professional, and financial, along with others, are extremely high, sometimes hovering over our minds as a dark and sinister cloud, over the holidays.
For some people, it will be tougher, nearly immeasurable, on them than it will be on the rest of us, including the trauma it may induce. Unfortunately, it can lead directly to violence at home, school, and work (DV/WPV/SV).
How can there be stressors during the holidays that would cause someone to kill others at these places? It’s such a joyous and wonderful time of the year.” One way to look at it is that they’re not happy and therefore, no one else should be happy because they’re not. A few more reasons I discovered in just a few minutes:
- Struggling to find financial resources for gifts-difficult if you’re out of work or low income, if at all possible…legally
- Finding that special gift that has the WOW factor, see above because it is magnified
- Company parties if you are employed not to mention other stressors involved with the attitudes of the time of year, such as shyness
- Decorating your home, again, if you can afford to
- Finding the time to actually enjoy the holiday
- Finding time to do everything necessary in this season of light-speed movement. Sometimes it seems that time gets so compressed that you can’t even find time to breathe…especially at work or with personal pressures
- Family, friends, co-workers, and employers demanding your attention and time for an ever-increasing number of things to do
- In northern and mountainous climes, snow (think of the lake effect snows around Buffalo, NY.), ice, and cold with the accompanying traffic snarls & energy bills
What does any of this have to do with violence at home, school, or work? Actually, it has a lot. And much of it depends on how well you handle stress in all forms. Then there is how well others are handling it. And of course, how much time will dwindle for you, your co-workers, and your family, during the season…if there is ever enough time to get everything done? Our normal answer is NO! there isn’t.
We’ve all heard the expression, especially around the holidays, “ARRGH, I could kill that (insert whatever expletive and gender you wish)!” Not that we really mean it, but the stress gets into us and we have the need to explode at something…or someone. Therefore, that certain disliked someone pushes our buttons in the wrong way at some point and we explode, usually verbally. Then we calm down and apologize because we hurt ourselves as well as the one, we lashed out at, especially if it was a loved one.
But for some people, it’s just too much. The fuse gets lit and suddenly BOOM, WHOOSH, KABLAM! They then, literally in an emotional sense, explode and take aggressive action against someone. Whether that is an actual assault with a verbal tirade or it turns physical, we won’t know until the fuse burns down to the powder and goes BOOM–boom.
Unfortunately, and to be perfectly honest, it may not be the exact person or object that has been pushing the buttons and getting to the individual. No matter who or what sets it to burning, the fuse will get to the powder keg, and…it could be a random shopper in the mall who accidentally nudges them and they stumble. Or it could be the clerk who has had a long & harried day dealing with pissed-off customers. But whatever it is, the individual is ready to explode. The explosion may be just words…on the other hand, it may be full of blood splatter, injury, death, and trauma for those around the incident…then of course the business has to deal with all the resulting issues with the liability.
An excerpt from a friend’s blog, from a few years ago, post that illustrates this perfectly:
“To me, there is a double meaning to the term black Friday. In literary terms, something that is black is insidious and evil or possibly something bad is going to happen. Black is what widows and those in mourning wear. Simply put the term black Friday, to me, means possibly death and destruction.”
Black Friday shopping in the past few years has resulted in Thousands of people being assaulted both verbally and physically in fights over various electronics, toys, and even dinnerware. Hundreds of thousands were injured, distraught, and otherwise traumatized by other forms of assaults. Fists, trampled, punched, gouged, kicked, and it continuously goes on for what…a low price on a trinket they can’t live without?
Studies have shown that the best deals of the Christmas season are usually on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. And now with the supply chain shortages, especially for smaller “mom & pop” stores and the lack of money for many… That means one thing to me… Shop early and don’t fight everyone looking for a .99 cent television. Do your work, go home, and have a glass of wine, or your favorite beverage (Scotch for me), while listening to relaxing music, 70s disco for me. Or if this doesn’t work for you do what you have to do to relax and ignore everyone else out there acting like chumps fighting over saving a few pennies over that trinket, in this happy joyous season of goodwill to all.
You have to let others’ hostility, and consequently, the stress, roll off your back like water off a duck’s back. Learning your stressors will help you and your employees avoid incidents of WPV. Will it prevent all of it, especially for your employees who are in the mire of customer-enraged violence? Nope, but it can help avoid the incident from being more serious than it has to be and limited to verbal tirades instead of physical violence. Don’t let this season of joy become a season of grief.
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Copyright 2022 Robert D. Sollars