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Give yourself a gift this upcoming holiday season

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Give yourself a gift this upcoming holiday season

Six holiday stress busters to help you avoid unnecessary stress

The holiday season is around the corner and many readers will start feeling the strain – financially, physically and emotionally. While it can be a fun time, with lots of social events and activities, it can also be draining and tiring, especially if we don’t take care of ourselves and apply some basic rules.

At this time of year, many of us are distracted. We keep busy juggling many different activities and tasks as we strive to get everything done on time and aim to please co-workers, family and friends. It’s easy to overlook the need for ‘me time’ or to appreciate the value of it. Time out from your regular routine and the additional festive activities and workload can help you relax and re-charge your energy levels, however you choose to do that. While it can be a challenge to find, and take, this time, it’s important to check you’re taking care of your own needs and wellbeing. Doing so, will help you maintain your stamina, not to mention your sense of humour, throughout this busy month.

Here are 6 reminders to help you stay balanced and avoid adding unnecessary stress:

1. Go easy on yourself to avoid burnout. Prioritize what’s most important; what really matters. Set boundaries and let others know what these are. If need be, think about what you can say “No” to and give yourself permission to do just that.

2. Check your expectations, of yourself and others – are they realistic? After all, remember you are in control of setting your own expectations and standards. Many of us have unrealistic expectations and then feel justified in feeling frustrated when they’re not met.

3. Keep a “To Do” list handy. Prioritize the list – what’s important for today/tomorrow. What can carry over to next week? What can you delegate, or disregard?

4. Plan your day and make space for ‘free’ time to allow for flexibility and change. Don’t schedule every half-hour in the day, else you risk ending up in crisis. Sometimes what we really need is to schedule some down time to simply ‘be ‘and not ‘do’ anything.

5. Get some fresh air and exercise, daily. Your energy level will increase, and you’ll find it easier to focus and keep pace with the demands on your time.

6. Remember to appreciate; reflect on what you’re grateful for. For example: what you’ve achieved, where you live and/or work, who you are, the people you have around you.

All too often we strive for perfection, especially at this time of year, but perfection usually comes from a place of fear. A fear of letting people down; fear of not being good enough; fear of what others will think of us; fear of being judged; and a fear of discomfort among other things. When fear and negativity take over in the brain, we over-analyze, obsess about detail, procrastinate, criticize and blame. This triggers the stress response.

If we don’t bake cookies, decline a social invitation, decide not to travel to visit a relative, don’t decorate every corner of the house, don’t get everything done on the various ‘to do’ lists, we will still survive the holiday season. Whatever happens, we will be OK.

Make it a memorable end to the year, for all the right reasons. Enjoy the holidays and remember to give to yourself as well as others.

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