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Managing Holiday Season Stress Part 1

No matter what family you’re a part of, you’d probably agree that stress can be an uninvited guest at your holiday celebration.

Family get-togethers are hard. This is true in relatively healthy families as well as complex ones. There are so many reasons that stress may come around – the buildup of expectations, memories about past events gone awry, overwhelm about cooking/cleaning and hosting, anxiety about how others may act or what may be said, etc. The emotions that come up are valid, and we may want to avoid an event but at the same time we may still feel we have to attend such an event, either out of obligation or because we want to see our loved ones.

 Here are a few tips to help keep stress off the guest list this holiday season!

1) Develop a specific value or intention that you hope to get out of the celebration. Despite potential squabbles, there are positives to be gained from this celebration – you can control your outlook. For example, your intention may be to help your children enjoy the holiday, or help them partake in a specific tradition that is shared at the celebration. Having an intention before you arrive at the party can help you center yourself.

2) Visualize moments ahead of time that may be challenging and practice acceptance. Let yourself imagine that you have expected this difficult moment and remained calm throughout.

3) Let go of what (or who) you can’t control. Go for a walk, take a break and watch some TV, or help clean up in the kitchen if you need to give yourself space to regroup.  Refocusing on the value/intention that you are seeking will help you remove yourself from confrontation, conflict, or generally undesired situations.

Do you have any other tried and true tips that help you get the most of this holiday season? Feel free to share in the comments!

Next week we’ll post some more thoughts on managing holiday stress in relationships.


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