Have you made it to November wondering where this very challenging year got to and, now are you wondering how to deal with holiday stress? Perhaps you’re feeling a little tired and frayed around the edges? Does the thought of navigating upcoming holiday and family events feel overwhelming?
If so welcome to Episode 34 of Your Freedom Unlimited. 2020 has been a huge year and this podcast episode is dedicated to helping you manage holiday stress and close out 2020 well.
Today I’m sharing seven holiday stress management tips to help you make it to the end of the year – not only in one piece but feeling calm and balanced – and maybe even with a spring in your step! After the year that was – with COVID-19 still such a big issue for so many of us – I think it’s vital to put in place some strategies to help you maintain balance, peace and calm and to find some joy in this upcoming holiday season!
The Holiday Season Can Be Stressful
I’m not sure about you but I’ve found by the time October and November roll around every year I can be feeling tired. This year COVID-19 has ramped that up for all of us. And looking at the calendar, there’s still a way to go between now and the end of December.
In Australia, our school term is still going and on the business and work front, there are lots of deadlines to be met before Christmas, and then it’s party season.
In the Northern Hemisphere, you are experiencing winter, and COVID-19 is ever-present. And if you’re in the US or Canada, Thanksgiving and then Christmas are just around the corner. While gatherings may be smaller due to COVID-19 there’s also the stress that comes from the possibility of not connecting with all those you love.
It seems to be the time of year when business, work, family and social commitments can literally collide – so how we look after ourselves and deal with each priority is really vital.
This can also be a very lonely time of year for many people who may not enjoy the connections they would like.
So how do we maintain our balance and maintain our energy flow at this very stressful time of year? How do we keep calm, peaceful and able to step gracefully into the much publicised “season of goodwill” if we are feeling crunched in from all sides?
Seven Tips to Manage Holiday Stress
Here are seven tips to help you manage holiday stress and come out smiling.
Holiday Stress Management Tip #1: Manage Your Time Like Its Gold and Your Calendar Like a Hawk
Time is your most precious resource – so it’s vital you treat it like gold. Last week I finished a 5-day yoga teacher training immersion! Yay, I’m a yoga teacher – but it was extremely intense so this week I’ve had to say no to some social commitments so I can be present for myself, my family, and my business. I’ll keep managing my calendar tightly moving into Christmas – and saying no wherever I need to so that I can get the rest and downtime I need so the things that need to be done get done.
Giving yourself permission to say no is not something everyone is comfortable with I get it – but we need to balance the weight of all of our yes’s against the time we have available.
No is also a complete sentence – there is no need to get tied up in a million reasons as to why we cannot do something.
Holiday Stress Management Tip #2: Reduce Your Resistance To What Is
In Episode 21 I talked about the idea of being accepting and allowing of what is going on in your world, rather than resisting it. At this time of year this is a really powerful tool to maintain your cool – and get back the valuable energy you need!
By accepting and allowing ourselves, other people, and situations as they are we get back a lot of energy that might have been needlessly spent on things we cannot control.
So if you spend your time worrying about what you said or did, or what others said or did this one is for you. Worry, sadness, anger and fear are all huge energy-sapping emotions that see us spinning our wheels.
When I look back I can see how my resistance what was really created ALOT of heartache in my life. Here I’m talking about my resistance to situations or how others were treating me and experiences I’ve had such as not being able to have children of my own. This was a big one for me – especially at Christmas.
Now I have become more accepting and allowing a whole new world has opened up for me and I have so much more energy for the things I want to do and can influence.
This is something to really consider if you are having a lot of COVID-19 related worry this holiday season. At this time take a step back and think about what you can influence and what is out of your control. Many of us are coming to terms with the fact that the travel we had hoped to do, or traditional gatherings we had hoped to have, might not happen this year. So if you can focus on what is possible and what is working, it will help you find a little more joy this holiday season.
Holiday Stress Management Tip #3: Watch the Stories You Are Telling Yourself
Often at this time of year we can lose perspective and tell ourselves stories about what is going on, or focus on smaller things that don’t matter in the bigger scheme of things.
It’s really important to watch the stories we tell ourselves at any time of the year – but at this time it is mandatory!
What do I mean by watching the stories you tell yourself? Here I’m talking about all of the negative stories we tell ourselves in our heads about ourselves, about others or other situations. For example one of my old favourites was: “I don’t have time, I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’ll never get everything done”.
Another oldie but goodie can be “They [insert partner, colleague, child, employee] are not pulling their weight, getting things done, doing what I need them to do…”.
Many of these stories set us up as a victim. And if we repeat these stories often enough they can become self-fulfilling prophecies. So take a breath and let yourself and others off the hook.
Realise you are the creator of your reality and do not need to be a victim to circumstances. Really think about what you are doing and why you are doing it!
Ask yourself: “Do all of these things really need to be done for you and your family, colleagues to have a good time?” Can you let yourself off the hook with your to-do list?
For more insight on the dangers of the stories we tell ourselves listen to Episode 11 of this podcast where I share just how dangerous they can be.
Holiday Stress Management Tip #4 – Build Mini-breaks Into Your Day
Rather than trying to soldier on relentlessly when you’re feeling overwhelmed or tired build some short mini-breaks into your day. These breaks can be anywhere from one to five minutes long and are a great chance to regroup and refresh.
The research shows that taking regular breaks, about once per hour, improves our productivity and creativity, and accuracy. Regular also reduce stress – pretty vital at this time of year when we don’t want to get snappy at someone.
In these breaks, ideally, you would be closing your eyes, meditating, stretching, or making a cup of tea and savouring it. You would not be looking at your screen or phones. The idea here is that when you give your mind and body a break you come back refreshed, more focused, and more creative.
I’ve certainly found this to be true. As I was developing this podcast episode this week I was feeling tired so I took a short break and had a rest because I knew that I would get more inspiration and more good ideas if I took the break.
Holiday Stress Management Tip #5: Keep exercising, eating and sleeping well
It might seem back to basics but keeping your healthy eating, exercise and sleep routine going is vital.
Aside from the physical benefits exercise is a huge stress reliever so do whatever you can do to keep your body moving. I do HIIT training 5 to 6 days a week and it works wonders for me. Given that a 15-minute session delivers benefits it has been a no-brainer for me.
At this time of year we can be tempted to eat lots of “delicious” goodies and drink more alcohol than normal. The problem is a lot of food and drinks are laced with sugar which is a poison to our body. I’m all for fun but managing what we put into our bodies can save a lot of headaches later. For me that is literally the case – too much chocolate and I have a bad migraine.
Sleep is also vital. While it might be tempting to burn the candle at both ends to do things like meet work deadlines, tidy or decorate the house or catch up with friends – a lack of sleep will catch up with you. Getting regular sleep during the holiday season will give you more bandwidth to deal with unexpected issues or unthinking comments from others.
Following my tip on sleep is to actually take a rest day. Sometimes our bodies just need a break. This is why we have weekends and why various religions have days of rest. Our bodies are pretty amazing things but they literally need a break.
I realised this again this week coming off my five-day yoga immersion. I’d been working in the days leading up to the immersion and I’ve come straight back to work afterwards. So no downtime has really caught up with me. I realized yesterday I needed to take some time out to rest and recuperate so that I can do what I need to do this week.
Holiday Stress Management Tip #6: Maintain a good morning routine
A good morning routine is gold at any time of the year but super valuable at times like this. A morning routine involves you regularly doing the things you need to do to look after yourself and set yourself up for an amazing day ahead.
For me, that is meditation, yoga, journaling and walking our gorgeous pup Lucy. I know these are the things that really help me bring the best me to every part of my life. This is something I work specifically with my clients on in my Your Freedom Unlimited program and the results we get are remarkable.
Holiday Stress Management Tip #7: Meditate
My final holiday stress management technique is to meditate. Meditation is a powerful tool to recuperate and re-energize your body, and to take you into a space where you can literally have some time out for you.
Research shows meditation boosts our productivity, creativity and ability to solve problems. And then there are the health benefits to meditation, including reduced blood pressure, stress, anxiety and depression.
In this easy guide, I:
- Explain the benefits of meditation
- Take you through how to deal with all the common roadblocks to meditation
- Explain how to start meditating.
- Give you two free meditations that can start you on your way now.
To access that all you need to do is visit jenramsey.com/begin.
Over To You To Make This Holiday Season Stress Free
So as ever it is over to you! Take these 7 tips to make your holiday season stress free so you can come out on the other side smiling and energetic rather than tired and worn out.
Please share these tips to help you and anyone you know to really get the best out of these last couple of months of the year – it has been a big year, get the best out of your upcoming holiday season and to complete this year in a way that will feel right for you.
Until we speak again take great care!!