Monday, September 19, 2011

Managing the Stress of the Holiday Season! 2011

So it is stress free and you can enjoy every minute of it as we all so richly deserve.

The kids are now settled back into the school routine, it is the perfect time to start thinking about the holidays. Yes, I know it is only September, but the holiday season is just around the corner. And if you do it right , you too can enjoy a stress free holiday season. How you ask, pre-planning, knowing your limits, taking care of yourself and not being blindsided by unexpected hiccups to your schedule.

Triggers for stress differ for everyone at any time of the year, but it is especially prevalent during the holiday season and definitely more noticeable to those around you. Now I know some of you are probably going what stress, there’s no stress during the holidays. They are times of merriment to be had with friends and family. Unfortunately, for many of us it is a time of stress, sensory overload, extended time and proximity to family, shopping, and I could go on, but the list would probably fill my entire blog post; Which is so not the point of today’s blog.

I used to enjoy the holidays and then as life does it became busier and more hectic and I found myself enjoying the holidays less and less. The expectations of others and allowing them to override my intuition sucked the joy right out of the holidays for me. So for the last couple of years I have been slowly adding tools to my arsenal to manage the stress of the holiday season, so can find the joy in the holiday season once again

Here are my top 6 tips to managing the holiday season stress and mayhem!

1.) Schedule, quite time for yourself.
This is an absolute must and should be the first thing you schedule for the next three months. Whether this is by yourself, with close friends or whatever. Ok, I know it seems counterproductive for me to suggest spending your quite time with friends, but we all have those friends whom don't cause us stress. So spending time with them is peaceful in its own way. Not sure what I mean? Think about which friends you choose to spend your time throughout the year. The ones that if you received two voicemail message invitations, which one would be the yes without conscious thought.

2.) Eat healthy!!!
No, I am not saying don't indulge in the holiday food fair, I like food way to much to say that. But by limiting the indulgence for the last several years, I have maintained my energy level. But more importantly I am enjoying the food more.

3.) Don't be afraid to say NO to an invitation.
"Gasp, from my readers" Yes, I say no to invitations during the holidays (actually all year round if truth be told, but that is a topic for a different day). The manners police aren’t going to hunt you down for not accepting every invitation, which comes your way. Prioritize, who is most important is that friend you only see during the holidays, really a friend or are you still getting together during the holidays out of habit, obligation or guilt?  This is the number one hardest tip to start following, as we are ingrained to be nice.

4.) Schedule, schedule, schedule....     I cannot stress this one enough,
for me it helps that I am a planner by nature and I love lists, can't you tell...he he
Planning ahead allows times for emergencies or the unexpected invitation that you really want to do but hadn’t scheduled. By planning ahead for gifts, shopping, travel, accommodations, etc., the holidays will run smoother and with less stress and annoyances. I say hopefully because the holidays are a time of year where interacting with others seems to be more challenging and we can only control our own reactions, not how others will react.

5.) Get enough Sleep!!!
This year while I am going to try and stick to this one it isn’t nearly as important as it was last year. That is partly because as I limited my activities and only did the parties I really, really wanted to and enjoyed what I found was I had more energy.

Yet, while I am experimenting this year for those attempting this for the first time I reccommend sticking as close to your normal sleeping pattern as possible, the Holiday Season is also cold and flu season, make staying healthy a priority.

6.) Meditate

I have been doing what I should and focusing on my meditation this year. Keeping it up during the holidays is going to be a challenge, but what I have found is that short 5 minute mediations or a meditative walk does wonders. Versus doing the traditional type of meditating that most people think of. We will see how it goes this year for me.

I want to stress I am not a medical professional! The tips listed above are ones that have worked of me in the past. Some of them may or may not work for you. I am sharing in hopes that it makes you stop and think about how you handle your stress during the holidays.

Do you have any tips for managing holiday stress?

edited to correct a spelling error 10/3/11

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