The holiday season is a wonderful time of the year. It’s a time to relax, enjoying spending special time with friends and family. Unfortunately for many, they find themselves increasingly stressed out during this time. “How will I afford that present?” “How will I make it through holiday dinner with mean old Uncle Jimmy, you know he drinks too much?” “I can’t think of Christmas without Mom.” And on it goes.
How many of those have you said? There are plenty of causes for stress in the holidays, especially regarding family and how much money to spend. Research suggests that most women are more vulnerable to holiday stress than most men. Why should it be any other way? Women do most of the heavy lifting during the holidays. Unfortunately, most women are less likely to be able to take the essential steps to manage their stresses.
There are numerous ways to manage the strain during the holidays. Here are five to start:
1. Learn what stresses you out. Is it a certain condition, a particular person, or that never-ending list of things to do? Find out what it is. Realizing what causes stress for you is the first step to managing it.
2. How do you deal with stress? Does stress give you a migraine? Do you get cranky with family members? Do you find yourself needing a drink just to get through the day? Look at your life and see how you handle stress. That knowledge can help you determine if your method of coping is an effective one.
3. Decide if your stress coping behaviors are or are not healthy for you. Then change them, one at a time. Don’t be too hard on yourself either. If you still feel irritated at your loved ones or you still feel that craving for a drink, remember everything on your plate, and forgive yourself. It takes time to make these kinds of changes—particularly in the holiday season!
4. Do you take good care of yourself during stressful times? The holidays are time to be more attentive to this than ever. Try to eat healthy, exercise a bit, and get enough sleep. Let me emphasize; get enough sleep. This will go a long way to keeping your body healthy, which will cut down on the symptoms of stress.
5. Do you go to family and friends for support? Letting loved ones know what is happening with you will help decrease the stress. If you find yourself needing professional help, don’t be ashamed. You wouldn’t fail to go to the doctor if you had the flu, so why avoid them when you have more stress than you can handle alone? People often benefit from a little help when learning how to handle stress effectively.
Repeat the mantra “this too shall pass” or “TTSP” to yourself as often as you need to. Holidays can be tough, but they only last for a short period of time. Yet the difficult part of the experience is not the whole experience. Your life is much more than this. TTSP —really, enjoy the holidays!!
SEE A LIFE COACH IN BATON ROUGE
Frank Hopkins is a life coach in Baton Rouge who is certified as a Professional Coach (CPC) by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). Frank has helped numerous people to go through emotional change in a way that is positively transformative.