Top 5 Ridiculously Simple Ways to have a Stress-Free Holiday
November 1 is the official start of the holiday season, at least in the US according to stores like Starbucks and Walmart that immediately start playing christmas music and serving eggnog lattes. But the Holiday season is not enjoyable for everyone, it can be one of the most stressful times of the year for many and there are a variety of reasons that can lead to people feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and just hoping for January to arrive. The Holidays mean different things to different people, for some it's a constant reminder of lost loved ones, or financial hardship. For others, it can be full of fond memories. It's challenging to navigate the numerous possible emotional response that the Holiday season can bring about, so here's a list of the top stressers of the holiday season.
- Financial: The holiday season, full of gifts, parties, and travel is too expensive for many people.
- Too Many Activities: It seems like there are more things to do every year, and it’s not always possible or desirable to participate in all of the activities. But saying “No” isn’t always easy, and some people tend to feel guilty if they do.
- Being Alone: The holidays are especially difficult for people who aren’t able to be with their loved ones, whether they’ve passed away or are out of reach.
- Memories: Holidays bring up memories for most people: some good, and some bad. If there are unresolved issues with past memories, this can often bring up uncomfortable feelings.
- Time with Family: This time of year is often spent with family, and some people find time with family members to be stressful or challenging.
- Overindulgence: The holiday season is full of opportunities to overindulge, which some people might worry about. If they do overindulge, it can lead to a sense of guilt and of being out of control, which can snowball into other uncomfortable feelings.
Yes it would be nice if we could just all focus on the true meaning of the holiday season and just take time off work and volunteer, give to charity, and eat healthy and exercise daily, but for most of us, that's just not feasible. So below I've listed the top ways that you can have a stress-free holiday that are ridiculously simple.
These are time and client proven techniques that really work. Here's a really important tip and it has nothing to do with stress, change does not need to be difficult or take a long time. As a matter of fact, our brains work lightning fast - so the techniques below can work lightning fast for you too. These are not all of the techniques - they are the simplest and easiest to implement now. If you're curious about how to implement this and other techniques in your life join me for The Holiday Stress Buster Workshop on November 18, 6-8:30 pm.
Top 5 Ridiculously Simple Ways to have a stress-free Holiday :
- Memorize this phrase : "Let me check my calendar and I'll get back to you on that"Be honest with yourself and your commitments. The most important thing to remember is that you literally can not be in two places at once, so when you say "Yes" to one thing you are saying "No" to everything else. Before you commit to something, think about it first. If you are asked in person to : bring food / attend a party / be part of a committee , the best response is : Let me check my calendar and I will get back to you on that. Then actually check your calendar and get back to them. When you say 'Yes' to something, you are saying 'No' to : your family, friends, relaxing with a good book, and other self-care.
- Stop Comparing Yourself to OthersOne of the qualities of happy people is that they don’t compare themselves with others. No one wins when you compare your experience with someone else's. There is no possible way to do a fair comparison, so it's always unfair. Instead practice gratitude, and learn to be thankful for and accepting of all the wonderful things you already have.
- Start and End Each Day with GratitudeGratitude gets a lot of focus over the holidays, some people may even call it a cliche, but there is a reason that people talk about gratitude - it actually works and there's a reason for why it works. Focus on what you do have, not what you don't. Here's a great mind-hack that can help you understand why gratitude works:What we focus on grows. Try it right now : focus on the last time you laughed, or felt good inside, and let it grow for 1 minute (I'll wait.....keep focusing on it), it will grow. This is an important aspect of our consciousness, what we focus on grows. When it grows it pushes out everything else, all negativity and other feelings you don't like. This is such a simple and important concept so I challenge you to begin using it in your daily life. What we focus on grows, focus on gratitude and your day will be full of things to be thankful for.
- Transform negative self-talkNegative self talk is damaging and unproductive. Most of my clients that suffer with negative self talk report that they are using it as a motivator to improve, so I'll ask them "would you ever talk like that to someone else, like a good friend?", and "would that motivate them to do and be better?" Most will say no, so then I ask, then why are you saying it to yourself? Be kind to yourself. There are better ways to motivate yourself to do better! Hint... they are the same ways you use to motivate your loved ones - with encouragement and love.Keep in mind that there's always a positive intention behind every "negative" thing we do, and for most the positive intention behind negative self talk is to motivate ourselves to be and do better. Transform any negative self talk into compassion and encouragement. Here's how : every time you catch yourself saying something negative or limiting, cancel it out. That's right, think in your head "cancel", and imagine that you're erasing or "back spacing" back across the negative self talk and erasing it. Then replace it with a positive encouraging phrase. If you don't have a positive and encouraging phrase use this one, it's used by thousands of people every day to promote positive growth : "Every day in every way, I get better and better".
- Do a little planningMost people will do some planning for the holidays. They will plan where they're going for Thanksgiving and Christmas, buy gifts and send Holiday cards, and if they're hosting they'll plan the meal and prepare their home. Some of these plans can be very detailed, time consuming, and expensive. But many people won't take the time to plan out some of the most important things - how are they going to be during these events. And by be I mean, how are they going to feel when they : [ see the person who hurt them / interact with the parent that never said I love you / are around someone difficult / are dealing with the "stress" of having so many people in your home / etc. ].If you are anticipating a challenging or stressful encounter take a few minutes to plan it out in your head how you want to be. Here's how : imagine that you're sitting in a movie theatre watching yourself on the big screen. In walks the person or the event happens and imagine yourself acting exactly as you want to act. Completely embody this moment - how you look, how you feel, what it smells like, sounds like, and even tastes like. Do you want to remain calm and in control? Then imagine it as being so. Do you want to be mindful and not get lost in the hustle of the day? Then imagine yourself taking time with guests and loved ones. Once you have it exactly as you want, step into the scene. This does not need to take much time - 3 minutes of planning can make all the difference. For more about this technique, you can read a previous post of mine called YOU as the director Self Hypnosis Technique.