The Healing Center Staff Shares Their Holiday Stress Management Tips
Kristi -- During the holidays, I try to balance all the extra social activities by staying home more when there isn’t something going on. I’m always reading and taking baths, but I try to do that more during the holidays. I also like to leave my weekend mornings unscheduled.
Alisa -- Every year, much of my holiday season stress comes from simply DOING TOO MUCH. Too many activities, even if they are fun activities, can transform into stress and leave me feeling fatigued, rather than festive. Too much stress has a negative impact on my mental and physical health. During the holidays, I practice saying “No” and respectfully declining invitations. We do not have to attend every acquaintance's holiday gathering, show up for every colleague's dinner party, or volunteer for every opportunity. I like to choose just a few events with people I have felt close to throughout the year. That way, I am able to attend feeling present and energized. It is quality over quantity for me!
Laurie -- I go for extra walks with my dog. Breathe the air and smell the smells of nature. Take a soak in an outdoor tub. Make presents rather than buy things. Pay it forward to a stranger.
Beverly -- I love to think of the Holidays as a time of light during a dark season. Having experienced many times of darkness in my own life, I contemplate the various aspects of light in my life now... people, places, healing, recovery, things, pets, spiritual entities, etc. I also try to hang as many lights as possible, and use each day in the Season (for me between Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hannakah) to show gratitude and appreciation towards those aspects of light. I do one appreciation a day, sometimes more because my gratitude list is so full today!
Bryce -- Stress is made so much easier to handle by good sleep and a sense of emotional grounding, so I make sure to start and end my day in ways that bring me back to center. For me, such a morning looks like reading a book of wisdom, meditating, and taking a walk. In the evening I like to do heart-centered breathing and a gratitude practice.
Casey -- There are two things I love to do to help with holiday stress: (1) Get a fun advent calendar so I have little things that spark joy each day (2) Write each of my loved ones gratitude letters throughout the month to stay in love and thankfulness.
Kim -- Knowing how stressful holidays can feel for me as a highly sensitive being, I make it a priority to check in with myself first thing each morning, BEFORE I get up.
I take extra time to lie in bed before I start my day and ask myself how I feel. I wiggle my toes and snuggle into my blankets more if I feel I need a little “extra”. Do I feel happy, sad, tired, depressed, anxious, excited? I also consider what is planned for my day. How do I feel about what I have planned? Do I feel excited, nervous, scared, overwhelmed? As I consider, I’m resting or moving around and inviting myself into my day.
Usually I’m ready to hop up and engage with my day. But sometimes I realize how tired or frazzled I feel from all of the holiday extras. On these mornings I shift into self-care mode. Do I need to wear my PJs or furry slippers a little longer? Do I need a hug? Maybe a cup of hot tea or a warm shower or bath? How can I adjust things to give myself a little extra down time?
By keeping myself my first priority during the holidays, I bring my best self into each day and feel so much better!
Richard -- When the holidays come around, it's easy for me to get stressed, overwhelmed, and have sensitive feelings of insecurity around family and friends. I have found it’s a great benefit for me to pick a date, closely following the holidays where I can get away or take a day to myself. I then have that to look forward to and it eases the anxiety. I struggle with social anxiety so, if I know I will be attending a big dinner or going to a loud restaurant - I pick someone close to me and let them know that I will be counting on them as my buddy, and if I get overwhelmed I can signal to them and they will help me get outside for fresh air, or depart the event appropriately.
Amber -- The holidays can feel extra overwhelming in a few different ways. Between family, work community, and friends get togethers, it can feel like there is a lot coming from all angles. Like icing sugar cookies right after they're done baking, it's easy to feel a little spread thin. And on the other hand, this is also a time of year that can feel overwhelmly lonely. During the winter months while we have shorter days and cooler temperatures, desires to "go inside" and "cozy up" can easily fall into isolation.
Some of my self-care techniques to mitigate these stresses are...
1) Move my body. Turn my phone on "Do Not Disturb", grab my headphones and crank holiday music as I clean and decorate my house for the holidays.
2) Mentally process. Extra meditation time.
3) Creative expression. I take conventional holiday recipes and convert them into healthier recipes. For example; taking cookie recipes and substituting the flour for almond flour and the sugar for monk fruit.
4) Humor. And when I really need to take a break there are always the SNL Holiday Specials!
Rachael -- When I feel holiday tension accumulating in the places I hold tension (my jaw & shoulders) I play Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” very loud...grab a hairbrush/microphone and sing it at the top of my lungs. It’s impossible not to feel better. I also love to do little things for strangers such as pay for the vehicle behind me when I’m in line at a drive-thru or on a toll road. That good feeling follows me all day long!
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