How to Stress Less During the Holidays and Beyond
Stress Less with Stressless Success
While the holiday season is meant to bring about feelings of peace, joy, and happiness, it’s also a source of stress for many. All that is happening in the country and around the world may potentially amplify those feelings this year. According to various polls, more than 80% of us are experiencing more stress than usual.
Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your body, well-being, and overall life. It puts your body into fight-or-flight mode, which causes blood to drain from the brain and into the extremities. Its biological purpose is to give you more power to fight or run; unfortunately, this leaves you unable to think clearly. Stress also weakens your immune system, which increases the likelihood of illness. On top of all that, it messes with your metabolism and melatonin, which is a sleep hormone, causing weight gain and exhaustion.
As I explain in my latest best-selling book, Stressless Success: The Surprising Secrets to a Life of Passion, Purpose, and Prosperity, stress is a feeling that is a result of thoughts you are choosing. What you are choosing is just a figment of your imagination. The great news is that you have the power to choose differently and to visualize, or imagine, better feeling outcomes or situations.
Unlike some other experts, I don’t buy into the idea that all you need to do to improve your life is to think positive thoughts. It just doesn’t work when you’re under incredible stress. What I discovered is that by forcing positive thoughts, you can actually make the situation worse because your feelings are not yet aligned. It is your feelings that create an energy that you give off and what you give out is what you get back.
Instead, when you face stress or negative thoughts and feelings like guilt, anger, shame, or frustration, let go of thoughts and focus on something that makes you feel good. In other words, get out of your head and into your heart, regardless of how loudly your head says not to go. Check out my book, Stressless Success: The Surprising Secrets to a Life of Passion, Purpose, and Prosperity to learn why this is so powerful and precisely how to do it:
Syndromes of “Too Much” and “Not Enough”
One issue with the holidays is that they bring about what I call “the syndrome of too much” and “the syndrome of not enough.” Both ends of the spectrum can cause stress and burnout. So, what are the symptoms of “too much” and “not enough?”
Symptoms of Too Much
- Doing too much by running yourself into the ground to make things perfect.
- Eating and drinking too much of the wrong foods and drinks.
- Worrying too much, especially this year, over COVID-19, financial concerns, etc.
- Spending too much time with people who you have difficulty getting along with. The current lockdowns and restrictions on gatherings may make this point less relevant for some, but for others, being stuck at home could make things worse.
- Spending too much money. Overspending can cause the kind of stress that lasts for months, especially if you’ve put yourself in credit card debt.
Symptoms of Not Enough
- Not enough rest.
- Not enough healthy foods.
- Not enough fresh filtered or spring water.
- Not enough exercise.
- Not enough time spent with those you care about. (See my blog on how to address loneliness this year.)
Having the Perfect Holiday is Easier Than You Think
The online dictionary definition of holiday is “a day of festivity when no work is done.” Odd, isn’t it? For most people, the holidays actually require quite a lot of physical and/or emotional work. Then, after everything is over, we’re drained, completely unrested, in debt, or in need of a detox.
I’m happy to report that it is possible to experience a truly joyful holiday. After all, joy and love are the entire reason for the season beyond commercial hype and pressure to deliver. Ask yourself: what would a perfect holiday really look like? Your answer depends on what you value and hold close to your heart. It’s easy to make your top priority a reality this year.
How to Reduce Stress and Increase Joy
- Write down your intentions. What do you want to experience this holiday season? Get descriptive about how you want to feel emotionally and physically. This will help you gain clarity, and the feelings generated by writing these things down will build energy to create exactly the outcome you desire.
- Set your priorities based on your intentions.
- Create a basic plan that gives you goals of completion and timelines.
- Create a spending budget.
- Eliminate low priority tasks that you don’t have time to complete.
- Learn to say no and delegate.
- Get plenty of rest. When you sleep, your body not only rests and rejuvenates, but it heals and detoxifies too. It is amazing how much easier it is to deal with stress when you are well-rested.
- Eat lots of healthy fruits and veggies to fill up and help you avoid overeating too many high fat, high sugar foods. (See my article on mindfulness for the holidays).
- Drink plenty of water to keep every cell of your body and brain energized and working smoothly.
- Get some exercise, preferably outside, even if it’s cold. Getting outside to experience some daylight is the key to avoiding seasonal affective disorder.
- Take your vitamin D3 because it’s difficult to get during the colder months.
- Do something kind for someone. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. If you feel down and alone, doing things for others in need will boost your spirits and provide fulfilling interactions.
- Remember to breathe! Deep breathing exercises throughout the day will help keep you calm and thinking clearly.
Work with Janet McKee!
Are the holidays stressing you out? Are you worried about what the new year will bring? Do you want to discover how to live a more successful life? To learn more about private coaching, send me a message or call me at 724-417-6695. Fill out a coaching form to access a free strategy session.