Stress affects you physically, emotionally, and relationally.  Here are just a few tips for learning to destress this month. And yes, you can take ownership of how you deal with it [note the title].

D= DEFINE … what stresses you.  Each person is different, and what stresses you won’t stress someone else.

E= EXPECTATIONS and EXPECT … are external [having too much to do] and internal [the desire for things to be “perfect”].  Are your expectations too high or unrealistic?  Is there too much on your to do list?  Examine your “rules” for the holidays that put you in a frenzy.  Examine expectations that you put on others as well.

If you are entertaining, then don’t push the buttons on those hot topics.  You know what they are for your family.  If the goal of gathering is to promote relationships, then don’t “go there” with the people who see life differently or don’t have shared values.

S= SUPPORT… is needed if you are in a unique situation this season.  Are you grieving? Find the social support you need this month.  It can be professional [counseling or coaching], socially [an inner circle of friends who understand what you are going through], and pastoral.

T= THINKING… about what you think about.  This point goes along with the one just listed.  Challenge your thinking as needed and monitor it so it puts you in a healthy, emotional place.

R= REST & RELAXATION… especially if you are in chronic stress.  Examples would be if you are grieving a loss, caregiving, or carrying an extra load.  20-30 minutes a day is what is needed to unwind from chronic stress.  This practice will build resilience to better combat how your daily grind is affecting you. Examples can include deep breathing for 15 minutes, enjoying a hobby, watching something humorous on YouTube, reading, etc.  The list is endless.  Just do something enjoyable and draw that boundary of protection for yourself.  It’s NOT selfish.

E= EATING & EXERCISE… what is your pattern? Don’t let the holidays be a “free for all” from start to finish.  You’ll only feel guilty if you do.  Be good during the week, and then allow yourself a treat or two at the weekend party. If you’re stressed [who isn’t?], then your body MUST have the outlet of exercise.  It promotes the production of serotonin, the needed neurochemical to balance us out and fight depression.

S= SLEEP… are you getting enough?  Don’t fool yourself into thinking you don’t need much.  You’re lying to yourself [see THINKING listed above….]. Recent studies show that getting sleep – or a lack thereof – affects us emotionally and physically.

S= SET … realistic goals for yourself now and throughout life and in all areas of life.  Don’t go “full tilt” in any direction.  Strive for balance in most, if not all, things.

These are tips for Hope for the Holidays!





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