7 Ways to Handle Holiday Stress

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Rather than joy and anticipation the holiday season often brings stress, frustration and tension as we deal with the hustle and bustle. To help you cope, snap out of it, or at least feel a sense of balance I am sharing with you seven easy tips and tricks to lift your spirits and restore a sense of balance.

1. Forgive yourself and everyone around you: Holding grudges and blaming yourself drains you of energy and makes you no fun. Disagreements will happen during the holidays because everyone is on edge; consider the stress factor and don’t take it personal.

2. Be of Service: Doing for others is a sure fire way to help you both. Don’t do it because you should, do it because it is a great thing to do. Make it personal or join a group for a community service project. Volunteering for the good of others benefits everyone!

3. Be Realistic: Just because your mother made killer cinnamon rolls for the neighborhood and your father won the house decorating contest each year doesn’t mean you should. Scale it down and create new traditions that your own children will have trouble living up to when they are adults!

4. Keep Your Exercise Schedule: The holidays are no time to abandon your exercise routine. If you are bored, vary it a bit but do not quit. The time you save by not exercising won’t make up for the positive results lost. I have dodged a lot of pounds over the years by exercising through December.

5. Choose Wisely: Three dinners and one open house on the same day? No way! Make wise choices, without guilt, about what events you will attend in the month ahead.

6. Get Enough Sleep: Instead of staying up to wrap presents or staying another hour at a party you really didn’t want to attend anyway, go to bed! Sleepy people are testy, grumpy, make a mountain out of a mole hill people and that is one thing to avoid this time of year.

7. Be Still and Breathe: This works 365 days a year. Throughout the day stop what you are doing, sit back, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Ten ‘in through the nose out through the mouth’ breaths will bring relaxation and clarity to your world.

 

Control the Comparisons

When people gather it is easy to fall into the comparison trap. Unfortunately that can even occur during the holidays. I love this Self Care tip from my friend Karen Rowinsky and wanted to share it with you as you head straight on into the holiday week. Thank you for joining me in 2011 and I look forward to more sharing and growing together in 2012.

 Control the Comparisons                                            
by Karen Rowinsky                                            

Studies on happiness reveal that happier people do not spend much time comparing themselves to others. Of course that is easier said than done. Most of us compare ourselves, our kids, and our economic status to our friends, neighbors, and colleagues. We make assumptions that other people are happier, more in love, more cared about than we are.

The problem with comparing ourselves to others is that some of our assumptions may not be true. People usually put up a good front. Many people show us what they want us to see. They don’t show us their pain about their relationships, the problems with their kids, or their unhappiness or depression.

If you find yourself comparing yourself to others, take a moment to question whether you are basing your comparison on reality. Sure they might have a nicer house than yours but they might be struggling to make payments. Their kids might seem to be excelling in sports but how much pressure are they under? They may have a smile on their face but what is it hiding? You will most likely never know if what you assume is accurate, so why bother comparing?

Self care is controlling the comparisons. When you find yourself comparing, substitute a few minutes of being thankful for what you have instead.

Karen Rowinsky, LMSW, is a licensed master social worker. She has a private counseling practice in Overland Park, Kansas.

Contact her at: 913-663-3511 or http://www.overlandparkcounseling.com/