If you can't afford all the things your family wants, you just need to be strong and tell them enough's enough.
As far as your mental health is concerned, being stressed can actually be good for you, but you've got to find the right balance. There's no point in spending more and more in an effort to please everyone and end up making yourself too ill to enjoy it.
There are good and bad types of stress. The bad kind is chronic and uncontrollable, like the tension caused by an unhappy marriage or a sick relative. But there are a lot of positives associated with short bursts of stress, especially now with that big build up to Xmas. The reason? Stress jolts you into repair mode. When you injure yourself, your body goes into alert mode and starts to repair itself - healing your injury and revving up your immune system to protect against infection. Short-term stress works the same way. Initially, it produces free radicals and hormones such as cortisol that wreak havoc on your tissues. But then, when your body senses the damage, it begins to repair itself. If the stress is short-lived, you can heal quickly and still have enough energy left over to heal everyday wear and tear, like a scratch or a bruise.
Some researchers who study ageing say that low-intensity stress could actually help extend your life. If mild stress speeds up the recovery process, it stands to reason that it would also slow down ageing.
There is research to back up the theory. Human cells grown in the lab survive longer after being exposed to taxing conditions. Other studies suggest that mild mental tension in the form of intellectual and social challenges, such as doing a crossword puzzle or attending a party where you don't know anyone, can help people fare better well into their senior years. But stress on its own won't help you; you've got to relax afterward. Your body can't begin repairing itself until the tension has stopped.
On the flip side, if you're too laid back and never do any physical or mental exercise, normal wear and tear has a greater chance to accumulate - which is not-so-good news.
How to get that mental balance right
Every day, rate your stress on a scale from 1 to 10. If you write down a 5 or above for more than two days in a row, try some relief tactics.
Mental, physical, or psychological challenges generate good kind of stress.
Say to yourself "look what I did toda". Recognizing what you've accomplished sends a signal to your brain that it's OK to relax, and this helps you restore your balance.
Good stress can come in many surprising forms, like visiting a sauna or eating food made with spices you don't usually eat. Anytime your body experiences a challenge, it revs up its internal repair system.
Exercise provides the same health perks as a shot of stress (and it can help relieve extra anxiety). A tough workout increases the production of free radicals and other bad chemicals, but it's only temporary: Your body starts to fix the damage as soon as you hop off the treadmill.
But remember: don't go overboard by spending too much, stressing yourself out too much, and making yourself ill.
Balance is the key!