Stress Management Through the Holidays

The holidays can be stressful.  Listen in as Keysa and I talk about Stress Management.  The worksheet we discuss, as well as the tips we shared and a couple of extras are below!

Worksheet:

Managing Holiday Expectations Worksheet

Our Top Tips for Stress Management

  1. Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night
    • Being sleep deprived will cause you to be tired.  When you are tired, you are more reactive to stressors in life.  Little things may bother you that most likely wouldn’t when you are well rested.  So, get those Zzz’s!
  2. Set a Budget: before shopping for presents and food, set a budget.
    • Some stress you are feeling over the holidays may be due to financial pressure.
    • To help reduce stress around money, plan ahead, review your finances, and set a realistic budget for your gifts.
    • This way you know what your limit is even before you set foot in the store, or open your web browser to Lululemon.
  3. Make Time for Yourself
    • Your schedule may be extra full during the holidays and with so much going on you may not have a moment to yourself.  
    • It is important to make time for yourself so you can breath and clear your head.  
    • This is  especially important as an introvert, as this is how we recharge our batteries.  
    • Even spending just 15 minutes alone might make a world of difference.    
    • It may be just sitting alone and reflecting on life, a solo walk at lunchtime, listening to relaxing music, or splurging and getting a massage.
    • It’s so  important to take time for yourself.  IF you are relaxed and well taken care of, you are better able to help and take care of others.  
  4. Get some exercise.  
    • Exercise may be the last thing on your mind during the holidays, but what you may not know is that exercise can elevate your mood and help alleviate stress by producing endorphins in the brain
    • Find an activity that works for you, it doesn’t have to be anything intense. .
    • A short walk especially outside will help reduce stress and give you some time to reflect on the season.
  5. Learn to say no/keep it simple
    • The holiday season can get stressful, especially when you have too much on your plate, especially if you are hosing out of town guests or hosting an event.  
    • If you are hosting a party or dinner, remember that you don’t have to everything yourself.  Ask for help for decorating or setting up, and have guests bring side dishes or desserts.

Bonus Tips:

  1. Be Realistic & Roll With the Punches:
    • holidays are not always like the movies.  Things may go wrong, food may get burnt, and aunt Jackie may be drunk again.  Know that everything will not be perfect and that is part of the fun!
    • By realizing this ahead of time and lowering your standards for perfection, little things will be less likely to stress you out.  
  2. Manage your expectations
    • Realize that you cannot control other peoples feelings, thoughts, or actions.
    • You can only be responsible for what you can control, which is YOUR thoughts, feelings, and actions.
  3. Drink plenty of water
    • Staying hydrated will help you handle stress.  When you are dehydrated, your body will send mixed signals and thirst may show up in forms of cravings.  It’s really hard to handle the hustle and bustle of crowded shopping malls when you are dehydrated and craving that chocolate…did someone say Godiva? It’s on my way to Nordstrome’s.  
  4. Online shopping:  I love shopping from the comfort of my couch. No lines, no crowds, no hassle.

Author: Mary Preston, LMFT

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Life Coach. Through dealing with my own anxiety and attention difficulties over the years I have discovered many useful practices and tools to help regain focus, shift my attention to what’s important and to stay organized enough to get the life that I want. In my practice I work primarily with women and children with Anxiety, ADHD and Depression and I share what I’ve learned to get them back on track to living a full, purpose filled life.

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