HOW TO BEAT THE HOLIDAY STRESS
Your 3-step guide to de-stress this holiday season
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The end of the year is approaching and with it the holiday season. Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas holidays, to just mention a few. We just want to enjoy the “season”; the scent of cinnamon, baked apples and homemade cookies wafting through the house while we sit comfortably reading on the sofa in front of the crackling fireplace while the children are playing together peacefully.
But the reality usually looks quite different: We rush from one holiday party to another, bake cookies for the next office party, make personal gifts with the children for their teacher, get holiday gifts for the entire family, in-laws, godchildren and friends, organize the Advent calendar, holiday wreath and holiday decorations at home, volunteer to give out hot cocoa at the local holiday event and almost miss the appearance of your own child at the holiday school play. This is how it feels almost every year – does this sound familiar?
This season can be different! I researched the internet to find expert advice in stress reduction & mindfulness in family life, to come up with three really good tips for you against the pre-holiday stress:
Keep track of things: First, think about which events during the holidays you definitely want to take part in. Which ones do you absolutely have to go to? And which ones should you attend (but don't have to)? Write down the dates according to these priorities. Make it clear to yourself that only you decide whether you want to go or not. Maybe someone else can take care of the less important engagements or help you with preparations. Give yourself permission to say “no” if an event doesn't suit you.
Around the holidays it’s easy sometimes for stress to build up with your loved ones. If you know that for the next few days you will be sharing the holiday table with your difficult mother-in-law, arduous sister-in-law, or annoying uncle, I found a wonderful exercise for you: forgiveness. Forgiveness works wonders. Just give it a try and say to yourself the following before you meet these relatives: “... (insert name here), I forgive you. Thank you. I'm sorry. I love you”. Now imagine the person exactly as you would like them to be (attentive, friendly, helpful ...). You will be surprised how powerful this exercise can be!
An important aspect, of course, with all the holiday stress is relaxation. A wonderful first aid tool is conscious breathing. At its core, conscious or mindfulness breathing is simply the practice of concentrating on your breath.
It is easy to use, anytime & anywhere, and does not require any tools. It's a mindfulness exercise - actually the simplest meditation in the world. Take a moment out of everyday life and watch your breath. The practice is simple. You take a deep breath, filling your lungs to expand fully, then slowly exhale. Every time you inhale you think of the word “I”, every time you exhale the word “Am”. Perceive your breath as it is. You don't need to change anything, just keep breathing. You can both observe yourself breathing and control your breath. Your breathing will become calmer and deeper over time. Breath observation is the most effective method to reconnect body and mind and to overcome stress or anxiety. Just give it a try!
How to deal with holiday stress and still lead a happy family life, I will show you in my upcoming podcast “How to cope with the seemingly inevitable holiday season stress”
I wish you a wonderful and relaxed pre-holiday season!
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I can’t wait to meet you soon, and hope that you will share many more ideas how to de-stress during the holidays. And, of course, any tips how we can really enjoy the holidays. LET’S GO! Let's enjoy the holidays without the usual tension and pressures.
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