- Recognize your holiday stress triggers: A stress trigger is an incident that causes either a negative physical (e.g., headache, cold, or pain) or emotional response (e.g., anxiety, insomnia, or sadness). The holiday challenge is that stress triggers can be associated with family and personal relationships, or finances. What are your holiday triggers? A dreaded encounter or perhaps the absence of a loved one? Concerns about your holiday shopping list or travel? Becoming aware is your first step to lessening your stress.
- Be willing to let go of past resentments: Once you've identified your triggers, consider viewing them from a NEW perspective. If you're already dreading an encounter, try imagining that your experience will NOT be negative. Set an intention to approach the person with a positive outlook, and not allow their comments or behaviors to affect your stress level.
- Seek out lower-cost holiday options (e.g., "grab bags," "Secret Santa’s," or “potluck” dinners): If your trigger is your finances, be honest with yourself and your family about what you can and cannot take on this year. Focus your attention on how great it will feel to spend time with those whom you love. Infuse yourself with the true holiday spirit of loving and sharing!
- Tune in to your holiday self-talk: We all have a running script of "self-talk." These are unconscious thoughts about finances, relationships, or goals that occur when you're stressed or overwhelmed. Coach yourself to flip your script for a more positive outlook. When you notice a negative thought, tell yourself to STOP! Take a deep breath, think of a positive statement, and reflect. Think of as many positive ideas that show the negative perspective is NOT true.
- Give yourself holiday ME-TIME: With the hustle and bustle, it can be easy to forget your needs. Build time into your holiday schedule just for you. Take on a new physical activity; or social activity, like volunteering to help others in need. Sharpen your mental abilities with a new book; unplug from your devices. Create more space in your mind for holiday joy!
This year has been a year of many changes for me, some of which I've not yet shared with you. Looking back, I'm thankful for all of the expected AND unexpected blessings that 2014 has brought me. For example, I literally have a new looking-glass through which to view the world, my new living space! Now, I'm looking forward to spending time with my parents and extended family over the holiday season.
What are YOU most thankful for? How will YOU beat your holiday stress? Comment here or tweet me on Twitter. Happy Thanksgiving!!