Stress: How to relieve it, what you can do

Do you feel like you're on overload at this time of the year?

We have Thanksgiving, and with that comes the pressure of preparing the perfect meal for relatives who don't always get along with each other. Then it's the race to get the holiday shopping done and trying to find the gifts that will be appreciated. Add in the subject that never goes away: where's the money to do it all? Mix them together and this is the season of stress.

Take the case of Jacque Lauzerique. She starts her day early taking care of children. The first one arrives at 6:45 a.m. and the last one leaves at 5:45 p.m.

"It's busy, very busy," she said.

But that isn't the end of the workday. "After the children are picked up I teach aerobics; 5 nights a week and Saturday and Sunday."

It's been a difficult time for her. "My husband had a job change, and it was a big change in our lives."

There was something else. "We lost our son at a very young age. He was 21 and that was very tough."

Jacque was served a huge helping of stress. "I would remember times in the grocery store and I would look at people with a full cart of groceries and be jealous," she said.

"The stress was overwhelming."

Psychologist Stephanie Lippman says Jacque is similar to many women who are on overload. "Women tend to shoulder more stress than men," she said. "Women have more of a nurturing personality, and when they face stress it's tend or befriend.

Dr. Lippman also points out that the financial stress Jacque experienced is one of the most common problems women deal with right now.  

How to cope?  Lippman has 5 suggestions:

First, emphasize your health: "Are you eating, are you sleeping well?"

She also recommends taking care of yourself.

She urges women to identify their stress; to know when it's occurring and under what circumstances.

She also says look at your relationships. "It's very important to examine the quality of your relationships," she said.

Finally, know when it's too much and when to seek medical help. "It's helpful to get help so you can reframe your emotions," she said.

Jacque found that putting her stress relievers to work every day helped as she and her husband put their lives back together. Today, Jacque says life is busy, but better. "It's good. We have two wonderful grandchildren, my husband works and things have settled down."

Recognizing stress, according to Dr. Lippman, will help you get on the track to dealing with it."You can replace negative reaction to stress with positive strategies that will help you to take control of your stress," she said.

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