December is like getting ready for a vacation. There are so many things to do before you leave for your destination … that the stressors can be high.

That’s how I sometimes feel in the weeks before Christmas. I want to find the perfect gifts for family and friends, mail all of my cards on time, attend holiday gatherings, bake cookies, trim the tree and so many more holiday activities. The time is so short and the list is sooo long.

It can create a perfect storm for what’s termed ‘trigger stacking.’ It’s a term borrowed from the world of dog behavior.

What does it mean?

You’ve been there.

Your boss gave you a new project with a one week (impossible) deadline.

The car battery was dead when you were ready to leave work so that took care of attending your favorite yoga class.

It took forever for AAA to arrive.

You finally get home and your dog got tired of waiting for you. He took a bite out of your favorite shoes because you had accidentally left the closet door open.

And then your boyfriend (finally) calls and says he wants to take you to dinner because “you don’t sound good.”

What happens?

You lose it. You snap like a twig from the weight of your day.

Each of these life challenges is tolerable, but when they accumulate and there are enough of them, they ‘break the camel’s back’ as the saying goes.

This phenomenon can easily happen in December – when external and internal pressures rise.

What can you do so you don’t bite someone’s head off?

I think the most important thing you can do is to recognize what’s happening. That seems really simple, but doing so will give you the chance to be proactive.

For me, it would be to walk my dog. For you … whatever puts a little distance between you and your day.

So, merry on and you will enjoy the holidays like that well deserved vacation.


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