“I am so stressed out!” I hear people say this all too often during the holiday season. With all of the preparations that are done for the holidays, it seems stress and the holidays go hand in hand. It doesn’t have to be that way. Relief is possible!
You may wonder, how you are ever going to get all of the things done that need to be done. But do all of these things really need to be done?
Sometimes we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves. We feel we should make everything perfect. We should buy a present for every person with whom or our children come in contact such as their teacher, gymnastics coach, swim instructor, or religious teacher. Instead of buying a gift, perhaps give a thoughtful, hand written card, stating how much you appreciate what this person does for your child. The recipient may find this more meaningful than another box of candy or a coffee mug.
You don't have to do it by yourself. Get help.
As you begin to make preparations for the meals that you will serve, you don’t have to make everything yourself. We have many good options available to help us with this. Check out the services of your local supermarket. They offer so many options from freshly cleaned and chopped fruits and vegetables to fully prepared meals. Or if your financial resources allow, you could even hire a personal chef for the occasion. This way you can get to enjoy spending more time with your guests.
It may seem everyone is putting demands on you during the holidays.
Learn how to say no. Practice saying no in front of the mirror. You do not need to give a reason along with the no response. A simple, no I am not able to help, participate, donate, or whatever it is that is being asked of you, at this time.
You may even want to say no, but instead find that yes comes out of your mouth. This could be as a result of a limiting belief that you have. A limiting belief is a thought process that can hold you back from doing the things that you want to do. Many times limiting beliefs are formed early in life. Saying yes when you want to say no could be a result of you wanting to please people. I mentioned earlier about feeling the need to be perfect. This, too, could be the result of a limiting belief. Changing limiting beliefs on your own can be very challenging and I have found that a person usually needs help in doing this. I have helped many people to let go of beliefs that are limiting them and then they are able to replace them with positive, healthy beliefs.
Most importantly during this hectic season, make sure you take time to relax and recharge.
There are things you can do to get relief from stress and create calm, and many are free!
- Take a daily walk. Research has shown that taking a daily walk has numerous benefits, including stress relief. It can lower the stress damaging hormone cortisol and walking in nature has shown to be even more effective.
- Doing breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation are good ways to calm the mind and body.
- In the evening as you wind down, limit exposure to electronic screens. Being on social media or playing games stimulates brain activity.
- Take time each day to acknowledge the people and things for which you are grateful. Expressing gratitude has been shown to reduce toxic emotions, improve well-being, reduce depression, improve sleep and increase happiness.
- Reframe your thinking. Check out my last blog post on ways to change your thought patterns and change the way you feel in situations.
You may already have things that you do to create relaxation. Remember to do them and take care of yourself!
Here is a preview of my next blog post where I will talk about the importance of forgiveness.
Along with the holidays, come the family gatherings. For some people, these gatherings are something that they are very much looking forward to attending. For others, it is a dreaded event. If it is something that you dread, think about why you feel that way. Is it because of an old hurt inflicted by someone?
Holding a grudge is a heavy weight to carry. Maybe it is time to consider forgiving that person.
About the author: Tish Schuman, LPC, CMH, NCC, a Licensed Professional Counselor and Hypnotherapist is the owner of Calm Pathways Counseling located in Mt. Laurel, NJ. Using an innovative approach which includes Ericksonian Hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming, she has helped many people to get relief from anxiety and related issues and find joy and calm in their lives. Click below to follow her on Facebook and Twitter.