Lesson # 86 Holidays And Stress

This Is What I Know For Sure Today:
Whether we like it or not the holidays are fast approaching. I have seen some homes with their Christmas lights up already. I think that’s called planning ahead. 
The holidays can be filled with a lot of stress and sadness for some of us. I keep it simple. If I send Christmas cards, I make them. If someone is getting a gift from me I do my best to make it myself. I don’t like to shop. Thanksgiving happens every day for me and since I really can’t be around well people, my Kim goes to be with his mom after work and I go to the shelter and serve meals. I love doing that and it causes me to feel all warm inside.
I hope the following will help you avoid the stress of it all or at least manage it.
The holidays bring a lot of things. There is great food, awesome presents and often some wonderful company as you spend time with the people closest to you. On the down side there is also the stress and sometimes negativity that often comes with the holidays.
You may feel the need to relax and let go of some negativity/or sadness or both.
1. Slow down.
First, slow down. Even if it may feel silly and if you have to force it a bit. Slow down your body…move and walk slowly.
Breathe slower and more deeply with your belly (and focus on doing just that for two minutes and see what happens). This is kind of like the 7 breath break in mini form.
Slow down your eating (this will not only help you to relax, it will also help you to not eat too much during the holidays since it takes just about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full.)
Slow it all down and pay attention to what you are doing. Be here now and focus on doing just one thing at a time. By slowing down, by being here now, by not having your focus split between many things you, your body and your mind start to relax.
The stress you may feel from doing the things does not come from the things, it comes from how you go about doing them.
2. Take it easy with those expectations…in fact lose them all together. Expect nothing from anyone but yourself.
Things take time, especially around the holidays when stores, roads etc. are overflowing with people and cars. It is just how it is and if you don’t accept that then it’s going to be some stressful and frustrated days ahead.
Remember…even though Thanksgiving – Christmas etc., is supposed to be a sort of perfect time of the year nothing will ever be perfect. Striving for or expecting perfection can be pretty dangerous so let it go.
3. Tap into gratitude.
Where you put your focus and energy will determine how you feel and think. If we focus on the stress and how hard everything is, you will feel and think about just that. Focus on the positive things in your life right and you will feel a lot better and think happier thoughts. Your day becomes lighter when you change your focus.
One of the quickest ways to shift your focus is simply to appreciate the positive things in your life right now. To be grateful for what you have.
4. Take a break.
Going nonstop can sour your mood and stress anyone out. Slow down but also remember to take breaks. Take 20 minutes or half an hour to just rest. If during the holidays or times of celebration you happen to be alone, ill, overwhelmed with preparations/expectations…that you did not mean to have or with sadness, this is the perfect time to stop…sit down…breathe and readjust your focus. You may not have 20-30 minutes…but please take a moment to stop. Or/and if time allows, take a walk in the crisp and cold winter landscape. Escape via music, a book, or by watching classic holiday movies/TV (I watch Christmas movies year round…it is always a treat for me). 
Do something that snaps you out of the working, shopping and preparing mindset, even if it is just for while. That brief change in scenery and change of mental headspace may be all you need to feel revitalized again and stress free. You may even catch yourself smiling. Isn’t smiling during the holidays just one of the many nice things there are to do?
That’s it. I hope you find something helpful in all of this.  I am sending you all pink, stuffed huggz. 

© Sarah-Pink Welch  2013

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