With the holiday season around the corner, how are you really feeling? Are you feeling joyful, excited, thankful, peaceful, stressful, or all the above? No matter how many fun things you have planned or how happy you are to see family and friends for the holidays, we all know how easy it is to get overwhelmed this time of year, but regardless of the season or the amount of challenges you are facing, the good news is that the solution is still the same: Disengage with the things you can’t change and focus your energy on solutions for the things that you can change. Remember, the holidays are about fun, not perfection!
Here are a few of my favorite strategies to use when dealing with holiday stress:
- Acknowledge your feelings. You will not gain anything by ignoring your feelings. When you acknowledge your feelings about the issue you are facing, you are setting yourself up for success because you can only deal with something effectively when you are facing the reality of the situation. You have to realize that there is a problem before you can fix it!
- Treat yourself. Don’t overlook yourself during the holidays. There is so much to do for others that you might be forgetting to take care of your #1! Take a spa day, a weekend trip, go for a nature walk, or whatever you have the freedom to do in order to clear your mind and show yourself some love.
- Make a schedule. Instead of wasting time running to this store and that store and then back again for the things you forgot the first time, focus some time and energy on laying out a plan of action before you leave the house. The energy of the season can be quite overwhelming so it’s easy to lose focus, but if you have a schedule, you will be much more efficient with your time.
- Make a gift list. Before you start your holiday shopping, make a list of who you are giving gifts to and what gift you are giving to each person. Then add a second and third backup gift option in case you don’t find your first choice.
- Create a holiday budget. Holidays can be expensive! Before you start shopping or planning a party or making travel plans, decide what your spending budget will be this year and stick to it. Refer to your gift list and add any other expenses, like party food, travel expenses, etc. and decide what your spending limit will be for each item. This will help to eliminate your financial stress because you will know that you are operating within a budget that is comfortable for you.
- List the things for which you are thankful. There are lots of things that you can be grateful for every day, not just during the holidays. Make a list of the things you are grateful for and revisit and add to that list whenever you are feeling down.
- Laugh and have fun. In any situation, you should never deny yourself an opportunity to just laugh and enjoy yourself. Laughter elevates your mood, releases endorphins, and gives you an overall sense of well-being and happiness. We don’t say “Laughter is the best medicine” for nothing!
- Reach out for support. Knowing when to reach out for help is a sign of strength. If you are having a difficult time dealing with the stress and expectations of the holiday season, please reach out to a loved one, a trusted colleague, or a professional. You are not alone!
Happy Holidays to everyone and as always, I am here for you if you need additional support!