Halloween is over and the holiday season is here. Family will be visiting, preparing decadent holiday meals will begin and stressful holiday shopping will come along. Let us help ease some of the stress that you will no doubt experience. You may not be able to avoid the stress that comes with the holiday season, but you should be better prepared to control it and hopefully ease a little of it.
We all know stress is a part of life. You cannot avoid it. But you can try to avoid the situations that cause the stress, and you can learn how to control the stress and your response to it.
The first step is to know your own coping strategies. What are productive ways that you cope with a stressful situation? Let’s highlight those coping strategies and make the best of them. A ‘Stress Journal’ may help. You can record stressful events, your initial response to the event and stress, and how you coped with the situation. Once you know what is causing your stress, try making changes in your life that will help you avoid stressful situations. Here are a few ideas that may help.
- Manage your time
Time management is a way to find the time for more of the things you want and need to do. It helps to prioritize – which things are urgent and which can wait. Managing your time can make life easier, less stressful and more meaningful.
- Look at your lifestyle
The choices you make affect your stress level. On its own your lifestyle may not cause stress, but it can prevent your body from recovering from it. Some tips:
- Find balance between personal, work & family needs. Look at how you spend your time. Maybe there are things you don’t need to do. It’s harder during the holidays, but if you start practicing now, it will become easier.
- Have a sense of purpose in life. Find meaningful connections through family, friends, jobs and even volunteer work.
- Get enough sleep. Your body recovers from stress while you are sleeping.
- Adopt healthy habits. Eat a healthy diet, limit the amount of alcohol you drink, don’t smoke and try to get some exercise. Even a short walk around your neighborhood is good for you.
- Get Support
The support of family and friends and even your community has a big impact on how you experience stress. It can be hard to ask for help, but asking for help does not make you weak. Look for support from:
Family and Friends
Coworkers or people you know through hobbies
A professional counselor
People you know from church or temple
Support groups are very helpful when dealing with a special situation
- Change your thinking
Stressful events can make you feel bad about yourself. You may begin to focus only on the bad and not the good. Negative thinking can trigger your body’s stress response, causing fear, insecurity, depression and anxiety. It also can affect your feelings of self-worth.
Dealing with these negative thoughts can help reduce stress. There are a couple techniques to look into, or you can seek help from a counselor.
- Positive thinking helps you cope with a problem by changing the way you think. How you think affects how you feel.
- Problem solving helps you identify all aspects of a stressful event. Find things you may be able to change, and deal with things you can’t change.
- Assertive communication helps you express how you feel in a thoughtful, tactful way. Not being able to talk about your needs and concerns creates stress and can make negative feelings worse
Lastly, hug your spouse, your significant other, your parents, your children, friends, anyone. Hugs release chemicals in your brain that make you feel better. Try it.