Holiday Stress Management Part Two: Methods to Handle Stress
A couple of days ago we discussed the signs of stress during the holidays. Why not try these few techniques to combat stress this December by applying the “Slow Holiday” idea? For the full list, as we have only offered a few of the suggestions, click HERE.
Unplug One Day a Week. Between our iPhones and Droids, our home computers, and televisions, we’re constantly plugged in, which means we’re constantly getting bombarded with advertisements telling us to buy, buy, buy. Why not unplug…literally? One day each week, take a digital vacation! Instead of watching TV, play with your kids one evening. Instead of racing to answer your cell every time it rings, turn it off and read a book instead.
Force Yourself to Slow Down. When was the last time you sat down and lingered over a cup of coffee and a good book? When did you last write in a journal, strum your guitar, or really take the time to enjoy the dinner you or your significant other cooked? So many of us rush through our days, especially around the holidays. This leaves us feeling frazzled, chronically dissatisfied, and spent. If you find yourself rushing from task to task or errand to errand while your patience is running thin, force yourself to slow down. Instead of stressing yourself out, stop. Look around you. Admire something beautiful you can see. Remember: your life should not be a To-Do list.
Discover the Joys of Small Things. Baking is a popular thing to do during the holidays, it’s an easy way to show you’re thinking of someone. Cookies, breads, cakes…they all have a place in our hearts. Baking is one of many people’s “Small Things.” That is, it’s a small activity that brings the baker a lot of joy. It’s both meditative and creative at the same time. Do you have a Small Thing? A Small Thing is any small routine or activity that really makes you happy. It doesn’t matter if it’s reading the paper, assembling bouquets, working on a woodworking project, crocheting, or washing dishes; if it makes you happy, try to work more of that activity into your schedule, especially during the holidays. Give It could be said that the whole process of gift-giving throughout the year actually loads us up with “stuff.” Some of it might be near-and-dear to our hearts, but most of them could be collecting dust on the top shelf of the bookshelf. Slow down this year by giving to charity. Even better, get your family and friends involved and do it together.
Here are some ideas:
- Sponsor a needy family. Provide a tree, food, and gifts for their holiday. The Salvation Army, your local church, local school, or local food bank probably all have a list of families in need of sponsorship.
- Bring some homemade food or baked goods to your local hospice or nursing care facility.
- Bring toys to children in the long-term care ward at your local hospital.
Exercise! Exercise has been proven, time and time again, to lower stress level and increase serotonin (the chemical in our brains that make us happy). Sometimes the warm weather we Texan’s experience during December can be put to good use. Go for a walk in the morning or afternoon before it gets dark. This could be tied into another suggestion, make it a family event or take it as your “Small Thing” that we said was necessary to avoid a stress meltdown! Try applying a couple or all of these suggestions to your holiday routine this season! Stress should not be related to the holidays; we shouldn’t dread them. Remember, the holidays should be a time of fun and family and friends.