How are you handling holiday stress? One definition of stress is feeling a big responsibility for something, while you also feel like you have little to no control over it. Like with many of the things that come with the holidays: Family or work parties you are expected to attend. Dealing with old traumas related to the holidays, or family members that you don’t get along with. Extra events at your kid’s school. Getting everyone the perfect gift, (and maybe trying to be socially responsible about it.) Making the perfect cookies for the cookies exchange. Getting your work done so you can enjoy a few days off. Grieving lost loved ones extra hard this month. A. Lot.
Whether you like doing them or not, so many things feel like they have to be done. Holiday stress can be overwhelming because everything feels extra and with less time to do the regular responsibilities, the first thing to fly out the window is self-care.
Me? I’m definitely doing a lot, but since I know that I have the power to change that at will, I’m handling holiday stress pretty well this year. Is it inevitable that holidays mean there is more to do? TBH, that is totally up to you! Watch my new video to find out how making conscious choices can change the way you relate to the holidays.
Handling Holiday Stress and Find Magic this Year
5 Ways to Handle Holiday Stress
- Set clear intentions: Sometimes you have to do something for a reason. Even though you don’t want to do it, you want the result. When you focus on the reason and that you are consciously choosing to do that thing, you remember that you are in control, thus decreasing the stress. Take some time and set some clear intentions for the next few weeks and stick to them. Also, when you set clear intentions, you realize that there are many things on your list that you don’t want to do and don’t have a good reason why you ought to! The best way to handle holiday stress is to take those things off your list.
- Stay out of isolation: Loneliness is one of the worst causes of stress. When alone, we can get stuck in our heads. There’s no one to pull us out of that dark place and we can get lost down the rabbit hole. Negative thoughts can spiral out of control. Isolation is not good for humans who are social beings. It is the worst culprit to mental health struggles. People need people for social, emotional and physical survival.
- Spend some time discerning. It is a great time of the year to reflect and stay intentional about how you spend your time and energy. Light a candle and sit and take a few deep breaths. Get my guided meditations to help you let go of what is not serving you. Or, start to Develop Your Intuition with this free video.
- Prepare before you go: Watch today’s video for details on understanding people. Or watch this old video about How to Deal with Difficult People.
- Do something for yourself. Don’t let self-care fly out the window this year. You can, make time for anything you prioritize. Watch the video for examples of what you can do! My favorite is singing. Read about the neuroscience of singing here.
Advice from my favorite go-to experts on Handling Holiday Stress:
Jordon Brown acknowledges that judgment adds to stress. He writes, “I hate that I’m not always at my most productive all of the time. But that’s an obsessive thought that is, in and of itself, not productive. I’ve learned that the path to greater productivity always flows from peaceful acceptance.”
Everyone you know is trying to handle their own holiday stress. Wendy Young, LMSW, BCD reminds us to smile. Smiling can disarm people and change their moods making them easier to deal with. Also, when you smile it changes the chemistry in your brain.
Try to fill your mind with good news! Check out this article on Bored Panda that I shared on my Facebook page by the creator of the Happy Broadcast, Mauro Gatti: I’m Honestly Fed Up With All the Bad News, So I illustrated 50 of the Best Ones for 2019!
Good Morning, Less Stressful Day
This video by Amy Landino focusing on self-care in the morning! Her new book Good Morning, Good Life came out last week. Here are her 5 Underrated Habits to Refresh Your Morning Routine from a recent newsletter:
Does your morning routine need a little refresher? Here are some underrated habits that you can start to incorporate to give your routine a boost!
1. Eat the frog ?
No, not a literal frog. Try to tackle the biggest task of the day before you move on to the smaller stuff. Not only will this give you a huge sense of accomplishment to carry you through the rest of the day, but the daunting task that was stressing you out is now over and done with!
Sing like nobody can hear you! Whether it’s in your car on the way to work, in the shower, or while you’re making your morning coffee, turn on some tunes that will get you in the mood to belt it out.
3. Learn a new word
Grab your dictionary and find a word you’re unfamiliar with. Learn it, know it, and maybe even try to use it in your day! Adding a little bit of self-education to your morning routine is an amazing way to boost your skillset.
4. Put at least 1 thing away
Got some clutter piling up? Make it a goal each morning to put one thing back in its place. A clean space is a perfect welcome to your morning, so make a habit out of picking up before you head out the door for the day!
5. Text someone some kind words
Start your day off with good intentions! Send your parents, your partner, or a friend a simple but sweet message. A single “have a great day!” can change someone’s entire mood, and it definitely gets you in the headspace of positive intentions for the day!
4 Steps and More Advice
Kerry Alison Wekelo tweets, “I use a four-step technique to ground myself. I notice what is around me, then I put my tongue on the roof of my mouth, then I take a full breath in with an audible exhale, and finally, I smile.”
Stress-free kids start with the stress-free parents. Luckily, Lori Lite of Stree-free kids shares an article on reducing holiday stress.
Matt Haig, mental health advocate tweets, “Anger without action becomes depression.” I’d like to add that: Stress without action becomes anxiety.
Again, here are some actions you can take: Work towards a change, do something creative, spend some time with good people, develop your intuition, help someone, cook something healthy, go for walk, or hang with your pets.
What do you do when you are stressed?