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Dealing with Holiday Stress

A client recently asked me for tips on managing stress.

Between work demands, family responsibilities, and now being in the middle of the holiday season, most of us are coping with a lot of stress.

So, here are my tips for dealing with it...

1. Reduce the stress you can. Let yourself say No to things.

If you're a chronic people pleaser, this will probably take some practice. But it's absolutely worth it. As someone with a less-than-positive relationship with my biological family, I've opted out of "going home for the holidays" for the last couple of years. Knowing that I won't have to struggle through family stress later this month is the biggest relief.

If any holiday get-together is filling you with dread, let yourself turn down the invitation. You don't owe anyone your discomfort.

2. Notice which activities help you release stress.

When we think of "stress relief," we often picture bubble baths and meditation apps. For some people, that's a winning combination, but they don't always work for everyone. When I'm stressed, baths feel boring and trying to meditate can feel frustrating. Instead, I do the activities that I know make me feel better. I'll listen to angry music and workout to burn off anxious energy. I'll listen to rain sounds while playing a relaxing iPad game. I'll watch absurd tiktoks, laughing until I cry. Not all "relaxing" activities will work for everyone. so try different things and find what helps you.

3. Treat yourself

As I helped my client come up with de-stress methods that work for her, I mentioned "the 5 love languages": words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. Whichever of these matter most to you could be a great place to start pampering yourself. For example, I'm a very kinesthetic person, so physical touch means a lot to me. Which is probably why working out and treating myself to a massage makes such a positive impact on my stress levels. For someone who's into words of affirmation, it might be more effective to read a favorite book or write in a journal.

Whichever methods help you the most, make time for them. Even if only for 5 minutes, it's absolutely worth it.


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