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All This Holiday Noise is Driving Me to Drink!
The store was hot and stuffy. They were blasting “Feliz Navidad” at full-speaker capacity. The entire mall was packed with shoppers, Santa’s helpers and screaming children.
Jamie was in the middle of her third day of frantic holiday preparations. Presents, pies, poinsettias – the list was never-ending. So was the noise. Jamie had reached her limit. She wanted to make it all stop. How did Christmas get so…loud? So chaotic? As she waited in another long line, the mall music spun up the next tune. Mariah Carey began belting out lyrics that explain all she wants for Christmas. Jamie decided what she wanted was a quiet place to drink – and isn’t the only one.
The loudness and chaos of the holidays is overwhelming for a lot of people. Many are overloaded with “noise” and don’t even realize it. We end up feeling frazzled instead of festive…and don’t understand why. The sensory overload is simply too much. It’s truly bad for our health.
All the Noise, Noise, Noise…
Unfortunately, rather than dial down the noise level, some people look for an escape. Like Jamie, they think alcohol offers an escape from the hectic pace and holiday frenzy. The problem is, at the bottom of the glass, the noise finds you again. Habitually turning to alcohol for silent solace eventually turns into…well, a habit. And not a healthy one. The leap from tuning out “Jingle Bells” to turning alcohol into an addiction is actually just several small steps. You can get there faster than you think.
Rather than trying to drown out the holiday noise with alcohol, try some healthier noise buffers.
Here’s a few simple chaos-copers to help you stay peaceful in the midst of an overwhelming season:
- Avoid the MallYou know it’s going to be chaotic, so don’t go. The Internet is your friend. If you enjoy getting out in the excitement and seeing the store decorations, then go for it. If you don’t, then get your shopping done online and skip this arena of chaos altogether.
- Check “No” on the InviteHow many holiday parties have you gone to in the past that you didn’t really want to attend? How many “obligation” parties are you invited to this year? It’s okay to say no. You won’t be the only one from your office who’s not there. Your neighbors will understand if you can’t make the jingle-around-the-block party. Your friends won’t un-friend you if you skip their Christmas movie marathon this year. And, if any of these groups aren’t understanding, they have their own issues to deal with. Give yourself permission to not do it all. Take a break. Say no.
- Stay Out of the CityIf you’re looking for sensory overload, big cities are the place to find it. All the sights, sounds and smells are easily overwhelming. If you can avoid trips to these locations during the holidays, you’ll save yourself a lot of sensory input.
- Take Five It sounds so simple, but few people do it. If you have a particularly busy day, take a break. Find a quiet place where you can escape the noise for a bit. Do something to calm your senses. Take a soothing bath. Put in some earplugs. Take a 15-minute cat-nap. Do some deep breathing. Regroup. It can make a world of a difference.
Additional Reading: How Can You Avoid the Dreaded Holiday ‘Freelapse’?
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