“Stress is not what happens to us. It’s our response to what happens, and response is something we can choose.” – Maureen Killoran
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, they 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, 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.
If you find yourself in this place of holiday stress, take to heart that 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 practice:
- Inquire with yourself which events and situations act as your stress trigger(s) during the holiday season.
- Write your triggers down if this helps you, or you can sincerely make a mental note of what these triggers look and feel like to you.
Do this before the season begins, so you’ll have time to “own” them. This gives you the ability to diffuse holiday stress by coming up with solutions that work for you.
Here are 4 Practical Practices to Diffuse Holiday Stress:
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 amidst 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 a deadline, or whatever makes you smile and sense gratitude. A little gratitude goes a long way for not only yourself 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 diffuse holiday stress in the comments section below!
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Holiday blessings to you!
The Wellness Universe