Do you ever feel like holiday stress is literally killing you?
From the overindulgence of food to the endless list of duties that you feel you will never get finished, the holiday stress of keeping up with tradition, your neighbors and the expectations everyone else around you is wearing you down!
Instead of just checking off the boxes this year, what if you could shift the way you look at it? For instance, what if you only did the things that have true meaning behind them.
For example, what if instead of shopping for hours to find that special gift for someone, you planned time to go do something together that you will remember and cherish forever?
It doesn’t have to be this way! We have outlined FOUR very simple steps for your to come out of The Holiday Performance Game with a WIN this year! Ready, Set, GO…
Step 1: Do only the tasks that bring YOU happiness
Take a moment to really create the awareness of how YOU feel about each of your holiday activities. Does it cause you large amounts of stress? Do you find joy in the activity of the outcome? Who are you actually doing it for yourself or someone else? It is a competition with others, a societal expectation or a tradition?
Rank each activity or project from 1 – 10 on the stress level it creates and then 1 – 10 on the level of happiness, joy, or fulfillment you get from the outcome.
Now, focus your primary efforts on the activities that have the ideal combination of the low stress and high reward. Then if there is additional time, energy, money, and desire, go on to other activities as time permits. (This tool can be used all year long, not just at the holidays!!)
Here are some examples of activities that you may want to evaluate:
- Magazine quality wrapping?
- Attending every holiday event in town?
- Holiday family pictures?
- Homemade gifts?
- Excessive gift giving?
- Attending others parties?
- Seeing certain people?
Step 2: Communicate proper expectations and have conversations around it
Clear communication with others is one of the biggest challenges facing us in all relationships in our lives and leave us and others often times feeling misunderstood and that are needs are not being met. Add a little holiday stress and you have a recipe for disaster!
Particularly in times of stress, which the holidays certainly can be, we need to clearly communicate our plans to others. Setting a realistic expectation is always better than changing the way you do things and having it be a surprise to others.
Let your loved ones know why you are changing from the way you have done things in the past and leave the option open that others are more than welcome to take on the responsibility of any tasks if it is important to them.
Here are some examples of effective communication formulas:
- “XYZ activity causes me a lot of stress and I personally feel very little joy from it so I am choosing not to take on that responsibility any longer. You are more than welcome to do it if it is something that is important to you and brings you joy.”
- “I find that doing XYZ activity is causing me a lot of stress with very little joy and while I am happy to continue to help with this activity, I need to know if you are willing to help me with it?”
You need to get full commitment from those that agree to help or take over a task and then delegate responsibilities. Be sure to keep those boundaries and only do your part that you have agreed to do even if the others fail to complete theirs. Otherwise, you fall into the trap of picking up their slack. This will lead you into a cycle of anger, frustration and resentment in addition to the stress of getting it all done.
When we live in a house together with our partner or spouse, often times it is very important to make decisions as a team on how you will go about your routine for the holidays (and any day of the year for that matter). If you feel that something is no longer serving you, have calm and proper communication with your partner about how you feel regarding the activities, what is important to them and if you are willing to continue to participate or not? Be sure to choose a mutually appropriate time to have this conversation because otherwise it may end in more frustration and misunderstanding. The minute your partner walks in the door after a stressful day is probably not the best time, so set aside some quiet time to have this discussion.
Step 3: Avoid “Holiday Mode”
Is holiday stress your excuse to over indulge? Do you find yourself using food and alcohol as your escape from the stress? Where do you draw the line?
Often times we see people’s overindulgence being fueled by holiday stress and burnout? Do you find yourself saying, “Finally, I can just sit down and have a drink.” or “I deserve another cookie after the day I have had.”
It is possible to enjoy and participate in the indulgence in moderation without going into deprivation mode.
Here are 8 simple tools you can use:
- Be mindful of the fact that the more you indulge now because of the stress and overwhelm, the more work you are creating yourself later to undo the damage you have done. Even by implementing small amounts of moderation you can minimize the damage.
- Focus your daily “Normal” meals on whole, fresh foods and plant products.
- Drink just water throughout the normal part of the day avoiding all sugary and diet drinks.
- Save any desire to indulge for gatherings.
- Focus on the foods and drinks you only get once per year when you are at the gatherings. Do you really need to eat from the cheese tray when you can really get the all year round, vs. the glass of eggnog that is only there during the holidays.
- Add some vegetables into the foods your eating at the gatherings to help fill you up and keep your digestion running smoothly.
- Alternate a glass of water with each alcoholic drink.
- Bring a dish to every party that you LOVE and that is healthy so you know you can have that as your main portion and enjoy small indulgences of the other food.
Step 4: Keep Moving
The worst thing we can do after indulging is to just lay around for the holiday season. Get out and move, one way or another. Very simply, it keeps your digestion moving, and your heart and lymphatic system going and clears the junk out of your body. It doesn’t have to be fancy, take a walk, stretch, do yoga, dance, or whatever you like.
The holidays are meant for enjoyment, love and expressing joy and gratefulness. Applying these four simple steps is sure to reduce holiday stress and make this holiday season one of the most enjoyable, healthy, rewarding ones that you have ever had!
Happy Holidays with Love,
Craig & Jenny D
Learn more about how we can help you show up each day to design a life you love to live!