Practical Ways to Diffuse Holiday Stress
Of all the seasons and celebrations during the year… it is the last two months of the year- November and December that are the busiest both professionally and personally that send out a white glove invite into a special season – “holiday stress”.
Stressors and triggers love to show up in both workplace and personal stuff which affects us emotionally and physically. Not so “festive” holiday stress loves to attach itself to our end-of-year deadlines, year-end quotas, and even social gatherings and parties. It sits as a stronghold amongst tricky family dynamics and weaves itself in what can be an overabundance of holiday food and drink offered seemingly everywhere. Where there may be loneliness and sadness from missing loved ones no longer alive… stress lodges here in this place too.
What typically follows on the heels of these various events acting as triggers is a feeling of being drained to the core. Not fun any time of year.
“Stress is not what happens to us. It’s our response to what happens, and response is something we can choose”.
If you find yourself in this holiday stress place take to heart you truly have all you need to reset yourself and find joy in the season!
What is learned and lived… can be unlearned and proactively re-framed going forward!
Well-worn ways of reacting and living do not need to set you up as one more stressed out victim.
Start here by doing this easy action.
Personally inquire what events and situations act a your stress trigger during the holiday season.
Write these down if this helps you or make a sincere mental note of what these look like and feel like to you.
Do this before the season begins so you’ll have time to “own” them which gives you the ability to diffuse them by coming up with solutions that work for you.
Here are some proactive practical tips!
Plan in advance.
Take time before deadlines set in for work and home to plan for gift giving, holiday foods, gatherings, travel or whatever this needs to be for you. When you know in advance what is yours to take care of, things don’t seem to come up as a last minute mini crisis. Even if something comes up because.. you have a plan with everything else you can take this on without being derailed and stressed!
Set up a holiday gratitude practice.
Even amid busyness or overwhelm or missing loved ones there is always a gratitude piece that fits. Take a moment and recall something such as a sunny day, a restful sleep, completing a work project before deadline or whatever makes you smile and sense gratitude. A little gratitude cultivated goes a long way for not only you but others too.
Practice self-compassion and awareness.
Applying self-compassion is aligned with gratitude! Beware of self-deprecating thoughts which love to take over when deadlines and obligations hit from all directions. When you take time to give yourself thoughtful recognition for a job well done or for just holding on amidst a tough season with self-kindness- you soften the weight and diffuse the potential heaviness of stress. It is not selfish to offer compassion. Knowing you are doing the best and giving it your all during this season can lessen the impact of “perfectionism” and diffuse some stress! We are all works in progress!
Set realistic expectations.
Take a compassionate reality check on what you have the time, energy, real delight and yes, finances to accomplish and complete to your satisfaction.
It’s super easy to get caught up in wanting to do all and be all and taking on way too much.. or the opposite – shutting down and missing out due to over-committing. Do what is aligned with your values and priorities. Again… reasonable, likely and therefore doable this season!
Please share which tip(s) you’ll use this season to counter stress! Holiday blessings to you!