By Sam Golden, LPC, MFT
This time of year can be stressful for everyone. Whether it is searching for the perfect gift, or planning a family gathering in your home, the sources of stress can feel endless and overwhelming. Since the things that stress you out cannot be always be avoided, it is important to find healthy ways to cope with the pressure of the holiday season.
· I know this seems like a no-brainer, but a lot of people forget to do it when they find themselves wrapped up in trying to get everything done. Take a moment for yourself and breathe deeply with your diaphragm.
· The general rule of thumb for deep breathing is to exhale twice as long as you inhale. There are several apps to help you with, including Breathe2Relax and Pranayama
2. Practice Mindfulness
· Mindfulness is a practice that combines deep breathing while focusing on your senses. Try stopping by the candle store in the mall and taking a moment to smell the candles, while focusing on your breathing.
· You can also practice Mindfulness in the car while you’re driving. Take slow, deep, breaths and focus on how the wheel feels underneath your fingers. If thoughts pass through your mind, acknowledge them like an item on a conveyor belt, and let it pass through your mind.
3. Set small, realistic goals for yourself
· Try doing something small each day to make your list a little less overwhelming. For example: buy or brainstorm a gift for someone each day or put up decorations a little bit at a time.
4. You don’t have to be perfect
· We sometimes put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be the best, or to be perfect for the holidays. This can cause a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety.
· This ties into the last tip as well. Make reasonable goals, and know that it’s okay to not get the perfect gift, or have the perfect house.
5. Ask for Help!
· The holidays are a time of giving, so don’t be afraid to ask someone to GIVE you some help! You don’t have to do everything yourself.
· Yes, I will say this again, because it’s so important. The holidays can be stressful and family members can be unpredictable. Just remember to take a moment every once in a while and take slow, deep breaths.
7. This too shall pass