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Conquering Holiday Stress!

Posted on November 18, 2014 at 2:35 PM

What do you feel when you hear someone say, “Before we know it, the holidays will be here!" A surge of excitement? Or a knot in your stomach followed by rapid breathing?

If you're like most people, it may be a bit of both.

Either way you feel, holidays often cause both distress and "eustress", which is actually good stress, but pressure all the same.

 

Often we feel we have no control over situations, and that leaves us somewhere between uncomfortable to anxiety-ridden. Let’s take a look at what you can control. 

1. Avoid spending, eating, and drinking too much. Remorse never adds to our joy.

2. Ask yourself what is it you need more of during the holidays. Time alone to recharge? More time with your kids? More contact with the people who find the best in you? More exercise? Weave these into your holiday planning. Boundary-setting begins with knowing your needs, and knowing what you have to give.

3. Remember who you're dealing with. You will become frustrated every year when Uncle Hal drinks too much and criticizes your taste in spouses. Rather than expect him to change this year, make a gracious proactive plan of how you’d like to deal with him this year to avoid the scenes. It’s always good to have a Plan B.

4. Set your priorities. I have yet to meet the person who attended every party, Christmas play, tree lighting, caroling, with time left over for baking, shopping, wrapping gifts, reflection, and hanging out with their family. Don’t set yourself up to fail! Take charge of your success by making a list of what is most important to you. Then cut that list in half. Then eliminate one more thing. Ask each family member what one activity means the most to them, and be sure to include it.

5. Adjust your expectations. Holidays carry a child-like fantasy, which is fun, but it simply can't be matched in reality. No family is perfect, so no celebration will be seamless, totally joy-filled and anxiety-free. It’s OK if dinner is late, the gift you give doesn’t fit, the dog jumps on the guests, and the rum spills. Try to view it through the lens of humor...why not?

6. Have you lost someone close to you this year? Are you alone, or lonely? Though you may not feel like it, consider reaching out to 1 or 2 safe people in your life, even if it’s just a phone call. Surround yourself with that which raises your spirits. Read a good book. Start a project. Cry. Find a Grief Share or Loss Recovery group. Remember that the Holidays accentuate your feelings of loss. Be gentle with you.

7. Be an “invisible angel”. Make a bed for a family member, take in your neighbor’s trash can, leave a potted plant at someone’s doorstep…anonymously.

8. Try to look for the best in everyone. You will be amazed how empowering that can be!

9. Look outward and consider volunteering. Nothing will so guarantee you joy as helping others. Holidays are a time rife with these opportunities.

10. Try to keep the Main Thing the main thing. Life is short!

 

 


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