November 9, 2018

Take care …holiday stress can kill you

We have all heard the innumerable reports from media outlets about stress that lurks, and surrounds, the holidays. We can all agree that the amount of stress, personal, professional, financial, along with others, is extremely high over the holidays. For some people it will be tougher, nearly immeasurable, on them than it will be on the rest of us. Unfortunately, it can lead directly into 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.” In just a few minutes, I came up with this short list of them:

  • 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 fortunate to be employed not to mention other stressors involved 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, 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 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 family, during the season.

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 to 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 kaboom.

Unfortunately, and being perfectly honest, it may not be the exact person or objects 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 and harried day dealing with pissed off customers. But whatever it is, the individual is ready to explode. Sometimes they do, resulting in a fatality.

An excerpt from a friend’s blog, a few years ago, post that illustrates this perfectly:

To me there is a double meaning to the term of 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 assaulted both verbally and physically in fights over various electronics, toys, and even dinnerware. Hundreds of thousands 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. That means one thing to me… Shop early and don’t fight everyone looking for a .99 cent television. Do your work, go home, have a glass of wine while listening to relaxing music. 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 a duck. 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 death. Don’t let this season of joy become a season of grief.

Robert D. Sollars helps organizations to safeguard the lives of their employees and students and lessen their risk of violence, as well as with other security–related issues, using time–tested and proven ideas.


Twitter: twitter@robertsollars2



Phone: 480-251-5197

He is the author of three books on preventing violence in both schools and businesses, all available on Amazon.

His book–related website, with full information on his most recent book, Murder in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Prevention, is:

I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear


Permission to reprint and share? Of course, with these guidelines: The original content must be printed in full, with original wording and full attribution.

Copyright 2018 Robert D. Sollars

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