Friday, December 21, 2018

'Tis the Season...To Be Stressed Out? (Some easy tips and recommended reading)

What causes holiday stress? This should be the happiest time of year right?  We have friends and family coming to call, lots of parties,  the exchanging of thanks through gifts and just general jocularity? Maybe though these are the very things that cause stress, says Sandy Bailey, family and human development specialist at Montana State University Extension Service.

"The hustle and bustle of getting ready for family and friends can cause us to feel rushed and overwhelmed," she says. Unrealistic expectations, extra chores, money woes and changes in schedules can create holiday anxiety.
Bailey defines stress as “the pressure from the outside that makes us tense on the inside. It is the response to real or perceived demands placed on us, even in so-called positive situations like the holidays.” 

I take this to mean that to reduce stress I need to feel like I am in control of the stimuli around me.  This enables me to better focus on the things I need to do. I would like to share a few tips I follow when I need to get my mind back in the right place.  

1-take a breather whether it be a coffee break ( I often enjoy a grande darkroast coffee at Starbucks for a quick get away where I can sit back and regroup)

2-keep up your exercise routine.  Even if it is a quick run or yoga/breathing exercise I block this time on my calendar.

3-think about a favorite food you like, then find the recipe and plan a meal around it.

4-while you are shopping for others take care of yourself too.  If I see something I really like (if on sale)  I will always take advantage when I can.  
5- go to a movie, this is a cheap way to take a little staycation and transport your mind for a few hours of freedom.  Yesterday I saw Mary Poppins Returns and it brought me back to my happy childhood memories. 

If none of these help, I also recommend two great books I just finished.  First The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson gave me insight into not worrying about how everyone perceives me.   Whatever you say or think is important and you deserve to have the respect of anyone who would challenge and make you uncomfortable.  Second is Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson and Joseph Grenny.  This book taught me that most areas of stress are caused by fear of the unknown reaction.  If you can understand the fears in both you and your guests, you may better approach the start of conversations that otherwise may cause confrontation.  I found both of these books have given me new tools to deal with my outside fear triggers.  

Be sure to get plenty of rest and eat well. Too much junk food causes sugar highs and can cause an imbalance.  Keep your plans flexible.  Remember real life is constantly moving and nothing has to be set in concrete.    

Wendy is a realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham. She enjoys thinking outside the box and the ability to incorporate each of the above suggestions in to her daily life. She hopes you will find them useful as tools as you move towards 2019.  

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