If you are a host with entertaining duties for visiting friends and family this holiday season, you know how susceptible we are to feelings of overwhelm. It can be so difficult to navigate emotionally harrowing holiday situations year after year. Well, just know, you are definitely not alone.
Research by the American Psychological Association, and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner reported that when 786 adults were asked to describe how they feel during the holidays – approximately 61% said they had higher stress levels. And an additional 68% said they also experienced fatigue. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Luckily, there are a variety of methods for defeating the turkey-carving, tree-cutting blues. So, before scheduling an escape to the Caribbean, maybe some of these holiday de-stressing strategies will help:
4 Ways To De-Stress This Holiday Season
1. Shift Focus To The Positives
We usually loosen up a little as Thanksgiving and Christmas near, setting our sights on celebrations and off-days, reveling in the fall chill that signals the fun to come. This sometimes leads to over-the-top let-it-all-loose behavior.
Maybe some coworkers get so excited about the company Christmas party they bombard your inbox with emails. Or, a few family members roll into town looking to capture your undivided attention. Obviously, this wears on our nerves and exacerbates the stress that has already started to build.
No one enjoys scrolling through terabytes of email. However, consider that it is not being sent to disrupt our workday – they just want us to be part of a fun holiday event.
Instead of complaining about the annoyances you are bound to experience, try to focus on the positives. Those visiting relatives with the oversized demands may seem overbearing but in reality, they simply want to spend quality time with you.
“Focus on the positives, it can actually bring a smile to your face which helps to release stress and enjoy the merriment of the season.”
2. Plan Ahead But Be Spontaneous
We all spend considerable time every year planning for the holidays. Unfortunately, sometimes we fail to nail down some of the essential details that could prevent stressful situations from developing.
For this year’s holiday prep, remember the little variables that can make or break the holiday party, like food allergies, where to seat a person who is upset with someone else, or running out of the key ingredient when you are half way through baking.
If you have family coming into town, plan some fun outings but be spontaneous. It’s okay to switch to something at the last minute they might think is more fun – like ice skating, or seeing a silly new movie.
3. Avoid The Drama
Family drama is a part of the holidays. It shows up at every get together. No matter how close we are, everyone has trigger points that push old buttons within a moment’s notice. Even delicious food can not cure deep-seated disagreements that are decades in the making. However, this does not mean we are doomed to referee. We do have options.
The more caring we are, the easier it is for others to follow suit. Also it can be helpful to set a special time when any issues that are brewing can be talked through. This way things will not blow up at the dinner table.
Actively listen to what is needed and see if people can focus more on what they value about each other. Finding points of what everyone can agree on will help to broker a peace accord. If all fails, send everyone outside for a walk to cool off and listen to a calming meditation. This often helps to spark new ideas of how to let go and join together in the spirit of the season once again.
“A unique antidote to holiday stress is meditations you can listen to while going for a walk.”
4. Allocate Some Me-Time
It is important to remember to take care of ourselves as we navigate this time of year. Even though we might be busy with a long list of things to get done, maintaining healthy eating habits and exercise is so important.
Whenever stress starts to build, making time to find center and deeply relax is so helpful. Go out for a brisk winter jog to clear the mind and replenish emotional reserves.