The holidays are upon us. While this time of year is supposed to be a time for family, giving and happiness, the expectations of the holiday season put a great deal of additional stress on our lives. End-of-year work responsibilities , attending awkward work parties, hosting family gatherings, and maxing your credit card on gifts… it’s no wonder we’re stressed.
We offer 4 tips to help you manage your holiday anxiety.
Watch the video now or read more about how to manage holiday stress.
- Tip 1: Surf the emotion – People tend to think that if they have a strong emotion, they need to act on it or they remain with this unresolved feeling. But actually, if you simply become aware of what the emotion feels like without being judgmental or critical, you might find the space to overcome the emotion. Emotions will rise and subside on their own. This is what psychologists call “surfing the urge.”
- Tip 2: Mentally rehearse how you will deal with stressful situations – Research shows that when you mentally rehearse scenarios, you are activating the same neural circuitry that is activated when you are actually in the scenario. Instead of responding the way you typically have in the past, imagine yourself acting in a more productive way. Develop a mental “movie” of yourself and clearly imagine yourself behaving in the ways you want. This will help prepare you for when these situations actually occur. You will have a script to follow.
- Tip 3: Seek moments of connection – When we are stressed, we feel a need to connect with people, share what we are feeling, gain and offer support. These moments of connection make our stress response healthier and aids in recovery from stress.
- Tip 4: Engage in healthy escapism – Actively let your attention shift to a pleasant memory. You can sing a song in your mind, think of your favorite place or activity, a funny TV show, whatever works best for you. Humor is very important for halting the stress response and replacing it with something positive. This will engage your mind and prevent the amygdala from taking control and causing a strong emotional reaction.
The stress of the holiday season is not likely to suddenly dissipate. What we can do is learn to generate mindful actions towards the things we can control, like attitude and mindset. Use these tips to make your holidays as wonderful as possible. Happy Holidays and New Year from TRACOM.