Monday, November 28, 2011

Eight Tips for Managing the Stress of the Holidays

The holidays can bring with it a mixture of emotions and different types of stress. The stress can be self-imposed, generated by other people's expectations or due to the given circumstances of your life.

How might you manage the stress?
1. Determine what is important about the holiday. Is it family, friends, celebration, mindfulness, prayer, giving or sharing? Think about it – what do you feel is important (not what you “should” feel is important).

2. Explore ways that you can focus your holiday around the things that you determined are important to you. Pick the one(s) that is (are) reasonable, doable and best match what you feel is important.

3. Challenge your thinking and beliefs about what you have to do for the holiday. Question statements such as “I (we) have always done it this way”. Is there a different way? Can you make new traditions that cause less anxiety, less stress and are more meaningful?

4. If finances are a source of stress, can you find a way to fulfill what is important to you without creating an added financial burden? Are there different ways you can give, share, or celebrate that have meaning but are financially realistic?

5. “I should do ….” Ask why you should. Do you really have to? What if you didn’t? Would the world fall apart? Who says you should? “Should’s” can be very difficult especially if you are depressed. Letting go of “should’s” can be freeing and stress relieving.

6. If you can, avoid “prickly people” (people who bring you down or cause you distress). With whom do you really want to spend time? Then go and spend your time with them.

7. Plan and do ahead of time. Make a list of things you have to do. Make it realistic. Then break it down into much smaller activities. Try to accomplish one per day so that you are not faced with too many things to do in too little time.

8. At some point as you go through the holiday, take a “time out” to check where you are spending your time and energy. Does it match your priorities? If not, why not? Then adjust your activity accordingly.
These are just some of the many ways to manage the stress of the holidays. Make the holiday yours this year.     Peace.

Mary Anne Zeh, APRN
By the way, I enjoyed reading the post on "How I restored magic to the holiday season" by Cairene MacDonald. It might be helpful so I thought I'd share it with you.    


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1 comment:

  1. Love the website & blog Mary Anne. Great information to share!