Three keys to survive holiday stress with ease

In a recent interview Princess Diana’s chef told how he baked bread and butter pudding, laced with liqueur and topped with crème brulee, for the Princess when she was stressed. It was her comfort food.

Like Princess Diana, most of us revert to food, alcohol or certain habits for relief when we’re under pressure. We may shop ‘till we drop, duvet dive, or watch an endless stream of movies or the News. And for brief relief, any one of those things is OK, provided we realize that:

  • Food affects mood; excess sugar can cause mood swings, while rich and spicy food can lead to digestive problems
  • Alcohol is a relaxant, but too much can cause depression
  • Shopping on whim can result in debt and worry
  • Sleeping as escapism can wreck the sleep cycle and our health
  • Blanking out in front of TV can numb the mind and emotions.

The holiday season can be seriously stressful and test the resilience of the most capable and balanced among us. There’s so much to pack into a few days. Whether catering for a tribe, travelling and visiting family, spending time with in-laws, exes or alone. And when tired or stressed our emotional buttons can be easily activated causing significant upset, no matter our age.

To be more relaxed and enjoy the holidays, try my three keys to survive holiday stress with ease. They’ve worked for lots of my clients and I use them myself.

Preview

  • First, spend a few moments to focus on your breathing and begin to relax
  • Then run two mini, fast-running movies in your mind – of your last holiday and the upcoming holiday.
  • Observe and note down any past or potential stresses

Prepare

  • Beside each stress, write at least 3 realistic ways it could be more easily handled – even enjoyable!
    • Shop and wrap earlier for Christmas?
    • Simplify, prepare some food in advance, ask others to help?
    • Avoid or shorten events that always fill you with dread beforehand and you feel totally drained afterwards?
  • Choose the easiest change to make for each stress
  • Imagine how you will feel having transformed each stress to ease – a breeze!

Permit

  • Now, give yourself permission to care for yourself and to make the first, easiest change and take action! Then move to the next, and so on.
  • Know that you don’t have to be superhuman to be loving, lovable and loved
  • Permit yourself to leave an awkward or uncomfortable situation – if necessary escape to the washroom, breathe fresh air by an open window, walk outside for a while, take a 10-minute nap, meditate in the car, drink a glass of water.

When we allow ourselves to take a few minutes away from duty and obligations, to care for ourselves enough to remove some of the pressures, we are less likely to feel trapped, resentful and oversensitive.

Try the three keys to survive your holiday stress with ease. They work!

Wishing you very Happy Holidays!

With love,
Gillian.

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