Have a No Stress Holiday
Have a no stress holiday. Ah the holidays. The lights, the food, the childlike wonder, and the stress. Even though this is said to be “the most wonderful time of the year”, it is often the most stressful. The holiday season can bring many wonderful things, but also some many unwelcome guests like anxiety, depression. and unresolved grief. But here is a gift for you to minimize, not eliminate, some stress that comes with this time of the year.
*Remember, you cannot rid yourself of stress or anxiety completely. They both have purpose in our lives in certain doses. You can learn to become aware of the warning signs to excessive grief, anxiety, and stress and be proactive and work towards learning new ways to cope and manage better.
How To Have a No Stress Holiday?
1. Try to prevent or lower stress in the first place by increasing your awareness. This is one of the most effective tips. Become more aware of things. We often walk through the day not knowing how we got to a certain point or what we did all day. Becoming aware of your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors takes time and practice. Increasing your awareness for the moment you are in also takes time and effort.
Becoming more aware and acknowledging what you are experiencing and feeling matters. If you know this is a tough time of year for you, it’s OK. Being able to acknowledge that this is an issue is one step to being better able to confront the issue. Don’t “fake it until you make it”. Be open and honest with yourself about what you are experiencing and work towards confronting these things.
2. Reach out to others
. Suffering in silence is not a badge of strength, honor, or courage. Creating healthy relationships
with others allows you to be vulnerable and accept help from others. Talk to those that you are most comfortable with and trust. If you don’t feel like you’re heard or understood reach out for professional help. This will allow you space, time, and the ability to learn skills to create healthy attachments and relationships with others. Seeking out help for your feeling and emotions should be as accepted as seeking out medical assistance when you break a bone. It’s normal to need to connect, feel heard, and understood.
3. Be realistic. You’re not to be able to do everything and meet all engagements you are invited to. The holidays, and you don’t have to be perfect and stretch yourself to your limits. Set realistic expectations with family, friends, and your pocketbook. Be honest with yourself and your schedule on what you can accomplish and what you can delegate your time and energy to. It’s not just about what can fit on your schedule but also how you feel walking away from these engagements. If you’re feeling more overwhelmed and defeated, this is a sign that you need to change things up on your schedule and do something different.
4. Learn to say “No”. Saying no can be very difficult. There is often guilt involved in feeling like you are letting others down. But if you leave a situation feeling overwhelmed or resentment it’s time to start practicing this skill. You can say no and feel sad that you cannot accommodate everyone and everything, but it’s important to be able to have the moment and then move on. All too often we create a dialogue about how others will perceive us if we say no. Create your own healthy inner dialogue on how saying no is contributing to your better health both physically and emotionally.
5. Don’t abandon your healthy habits. Now is not the time to make excuses for why you are not continuing your healthy habits. Practice healthy sleep hygiene, continue your healthy eating habits, limit alcohol intake, and stay on your exercise plan if you have one. Saying you don’t have time for these things is not helpful to your ability to manage your stress and anxiety. This all leads to the cycle of guilt about not being able to make it all happen all the time. Disregarding your typical routines leads to higher levels of stress. Having and keeping your routine is over all helpful to your overall health and wellbeing.
6. Make time for you
-Take a walk
-Read a book
-Take a class
-Listen to music
-Practice breath work
-Get out in nature.
Something that is only for you. It does not have to be for long. 10-15 minutes is sufficient because neglecting you in the short-term can have long-term consequences on your overall physical and mental health.
7. Focus on what you have control over. Often we can become anxious about situations and things that are completely out of our control. You cannot control how other people will act, treat you, think about you, etc. Nor should you. You only have control over being able to challenge and replace unhelpful thoughts that contribute to more helpful behaviors. Anything outside of this is not within your control. Readjusting your focus on the present moment and reminding yourself about what you have control over can be a helpful tactic and strategy. Although easier said than done, this is a skill that can be practiced and mastered over time.
Take time to prevent added holiday stress. Learn to recognize the triggers to your stress and address them prior to a meltdown or breakdown. Planning ahead and setting realistic goals and expectations can be one step towards taking back the holidays and maybe breaking the cycle of unhelpful events and behaviors.
These are only a few skills that you can use moving forward into the holidays. If you would like to learn more about how your thinking leads to your behaviors and wanting to interrupt your anxiety cycle, please call to schedule a consultation or an appointment. There are a lot of things you can do to work on challenging your thoughts to increase your ability to cope and manage stress effectively on a daily basis. Meet the team at High Expectations Counseling.