5 ways to eliminate stress and experience happiness during the holiday season…

While the holiday season is touted to be ‘the most wonderful time of the year’, for many it can be a time of overwhelm, depression, anxiety, and stress. 

The money, the crowds, the shopping, the parties, the never seeming to have enough time to get it all done… all contribute to what can equal one tired, irritable, sad, and sleep deprived YOU!

But don’t worry; I have 5 steps you can begin to take, today, to start to get rid of the stress of the holidays and experience more happiness and peace!

1) Become an observer: In the heat of the stressful moment (whether it’s shopping, work parties, cleaning, trying to get the kids ready for parties, trying to clean the kids, trying to shop for the kid’s parties, trying to get the kids clean to shop for the parties, trying to buy your Secret Santa gifts for co-workers, trying to find a new place for the Elf on The Shelf, etc.)  try to take a mental step back and identify what it is that is actually stressing you out in that moment. Detaching from the emotional response of stress, long enough to become objective, can take some of the steam out of the pressure cooker and allow you a few moments to breath and re-group. 

2) After you’ve made the shift from participant to observer, it’s easier to make decisions without the emotional charge around whatever it is you’re doing. The next step to get closer  to the ‘happier version of yourself’ is to ask yourself “How can I look at this differently? How could I view this situation more productively, and with less anxiety?” 

3) Once you identify some of the key stressors of the season, shift your focus onto the things that you really enjoy doing. I suggest you make a ‘pros and cons list’. It may read something like this “Pro - getting to see family and friends I don’t normally get to see!” or “Con - having to see family and friends I don’t normally have to see.”  

After you recognize what you enjoy about the holiday season vs. what brings you anxiety, you can begin to focus your time and attention to fulfilling the things on your PROS list! 

I call this ‘saying ‘no’ to the things you don’t want to do, so that you can say ‘yes’ to the things that you want to do.’

4) Go easy on yourself! Who says you have to get it all done? Or that it has to look a certain way? Get rid of the idea of having to be perfect, or live up to someone else’s expectations. Do what makes you happy, because when YOU are happy, you can share your happiness with the ones you care about.

Remember you can’t give what you don’t have…so cultivate your own happiness in order to share it with others, otherwise all you have to share is your stress and anxiety! 

5) At the end of the day, remember that all the traditions we have been handed down throughout the history of celebrating this season, be they from celebrations of Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or Christmas are all meant to create a sense of love, thanksgiving, and gratitude. Don’t let the thoughts of ‘what we have to do’ blind us to the thoughts of ‘what we have’ .

If you can take these five simple mindset shifts into your life and really practice them everyday, then I promise you, you will have a happier holiday season with less stress!