How to feel less stressed out –
Follow these 4 tips for a less stressful holiday season…
Why are we about to feel more stressed out (than our 2020 usual)? As if the never-ending pandemic and the tense presidential election wasn’t stressful enough for this year… we’re now staring down the barrel of the holiday season.
Even though pandemic-related gathering and travel restrictions seem like they’ll be sticking around through to the new year, the holidays are still a time with plenty to look forward to. Most of us enjoy a little holiday magic in the air, the traditions, special recipes, decorations, and family time.
But the holiday season can also add an extra layer of stress and anxiety. We usually wear ourselves out trying so hard to make everything just right that we stress ourselves into not getting enough rest and into potentially lowering our immune system. (Remind me to tell you about my Rash of Christmas Eve ’04.)
We all want to stay healthy and lowering stress is as a good a way to start as any.
If coronavirus and the political tensions haven’t already gotten the best of you, these stress-reducing tips are going to help you glide through to New Year’s with your sanity intact.
1. Appreciate more.
Gratitude is a thankful feeling; appreciation is an action – a way to show you’re thankful. Look around with eyes of wonder and appreciation. Let someone special know what you appreciate about them. Show appreciation to whatever’s important to you. To your family, your home, your health, your dog. Instead of stressing out over what more you could or should be doing in a day or feeling anxious over how to make so-and-so happy about your far from traditional pandemic-style Thanksgiving; express your appreciation for what is good, what is right, what you love, what is beautiful, what is truly meaningful to you. Appreciation can snuff out stress as quickly as slapping a lid on a candle.
2. Do a little less.
Your productivity is not equivalent to your worth. Why are you stressing yourself out to do so much like your very life depends on it? Doing less is not about being lazy. It’s a refocus on quality over quantity, impact over non-essential busyness. Give less of your time to distractions (i.e. internet browsing, social media scrolling) or non-essential tasks (cleaning crumbs out of the toaster) so you can create time to rest, or better yet, have fun. You won’t win any awards, find any peace, or feel genuine fulfillment by being the one who did the most “stuff” in a day. Make your wellness a priority by setting some boundaries. Keep your daily to-do list shorter and prioritize the items that will have the biggest impact. Let some of the smaller stuff go on the “eventually” list. You’ll be better able to cope and you’ll feel less stressed out.
3. Shift your thoughts.
This is a big one. So often, we’re stressed because parts of our life are out of our control. And that’s the point. If it’s out of your immediate control, then the focus you’re giving it is futile. Intentionally shift what you’re thinking about. Choose to divert your attention to a subject that feels better – and you’ll start to feel better. It really can be that simple. Worry is an energy drain. Save your energy for those things you can affect.
“It is said that most people spend their lives regretting the past and fearing the future; therefore they are unable to to experience joy in the present.” – David R. Hawkins, MD, PhD
4. Speak it out.
Even if it’s not to another person, speak your stress. Say what’s on your mind and what’s making you feel overwhelmed. It could be expressed in your journal for your eyes only, or maybe in an email to yourself; or maybe you feel ready to text or call a friend. Just the mere act of venting and putting into words how stressed out you feel and why is like tipping the topper on the pressure cooker and letting some of the built-up pressure and steam escape. Sometimes stress is the result of what we make of things we’ve let get exaggerated in our minds. Speaking the worries usually helps shrink them down to a manageable size when we can then either find a solution or consciously choose to surrender and let them go.
Hope these tips will bring you some stress-relief in the coming weeks.
Cheers to moving through the end of 2020 enjoying the holidays with grace, optimism, and a sturdy immune system (and as little stress as possible!). – Marlene
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