Nine ways to manage holiday stress

1. Focus on what matters. Figure out what is most important to you and forget the rest. Learn to say “no” and set healthy boundaries. Do not take on responsibility for everything. Explore what you value and whether your actions match your values.

2. Stop and be present. Take time to be still and enjoy the moment. Take a deep breath and pause.

3. Let go of perfectionism and people pleasing. The decorations don’t have to look like they are out of a magazine. It’s about enjoying the process and having fun. It is okay to let some things go. No one ends up being happy when we try to please everyone.

4. Watch the negative self-talk. We are often our own worst critics. Learn to counter the negative thoughts with positive messages. For example, if you say to yourself, “I am not good enough instead say “I am doing the best I can.”

5. Jump off the guilt trips. If you or someone else tries to take you on a guilt trip, stop and jump off the train. Guilt comes from feeling badly about a behavior or choice we have made. If you know in your heart it was the best decision for you, trust yourself.

6. Notice your expectations. Are they too high? Are they serving you well? Are they realistic? If not, rethink your expectations. Again, focus on what matters and what is important. Remember to have fun and keep a good sense of humor.

7. Ask for help. This is often one of the most difficult things for people to do. It’s okay to ask others to help with chores. Maybe you need to talk to someone about how you are feeling. You will feel more supported and better able to cope with whatever comes your way.

8. Eliminate useless worry. Worry really doesn’t serve any purpose. It keeps us feeling bad and keeps us in a fear-based place. Let go and trust that everything happens exactly the way it is supposed to and you can handle whatever comes your way.

9. Focus on self-care. People often feel selfish if they focus on taking care of themselves but this is one of the key factors in managing stress during the holidays or  anytime of the year. Get a massage, go for a walk, read a book, or do anything you love. If you are not feeling good about you, things feel out of alignment and unbalanced.

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