stress less and find more peace, manage stress

Stress Less -for the holidays and anytime

Wish it were automatic to stress less and still enjoy the season?

Maybe that feels like a tall, ridiculous order. It might seem that you’re either ALL in for the holidays or taking a complete vacation from them altogether.

Most people want something in the middle. They want less stress and more enjoyment, more meaning, and more peace.

Let’s get you that.

Identify the Biggest Stressor

Is it travel to four different places? Maybe you especially stress about that ONE event. Feeling overwhelmed by obligations? Is it pressure you put on yourself to produce a Martha Stewart scene? Is it that you two seem to get into so many more arguments this time of year and you’d love to side-step it this year?Pick out the biggest one for you.

And yes, it’s personal, specific to you. Your spouse does not have to agree that this it THE THING. What stresses you may be the most important thing for her (or him) or for the kids… but we’re not talking about that right now. (Are you stressed because you’re alone? Here’s some help for that: read HERE or HERE.) We’re talking about what is MOST stressful for you. Identify that.

Having trouble identifying it?

Ask these questions to tease it out more effectively:

  • What one thing, if it disappeared today, would have me sighing with relief?
  • If I had to miss one part of the holiday, what would I skip out on with NO regrets?
  • Fantasize the perfect imaginary holiday. It looks like… (go ahead and get really specific and write it down.)

Don’t spend time evaluating this either. Don’t listen to the guilters or the naysayers even if they come from your own brain! It’s not time to judge your stress. If it’s stressful, it’s stressful. we’re going to solvee that. Next…

1. What’s the ONE CHANGE that will minimize that Stress?

You are looking for a rule, guideline, or principle you can adopt that keeps that stressor at bay.

Here’s an example:

For me, it’s shopping. I refuse to do any last minute shopping. And last minute for me means anything after I am on holiday break from work. That means if it’s not done before December 20, too bad, baby.

That one guideline eliminates 80% of the stress for me.

There may be part of this “area” you like.

Keep that.

Look, I am not a shopper. Never have been, never will be. (In fact I DREAM of having a personal shopper to whom I can say, replace these, I need that, I’m looking for this particular thing…and not spend one second of my time finding it!)

But I DO enjoy stuffing those stockings with quirky, unique, thoughtful, fun surprises.

I shop end-caps, kiosks, dollar aisles, clearance bins, and specialty shops…before December 20th… to thoughtfully purchase little gifties for ALL my lovies.

If there’s some part of the greatest stressor you DO like, keep it.

There may be related, smaller stressors

Eliminate these right alongside the other.

For instance, I also keep my gift wrapping simple anymore.

I did not always. I actually glued beads to wrapping paper, wove folded paper strips into gorgeous art before folding it over gifts, hand-stamped my paper, made my very own bows. Heck, we had seven trees one year, each with their own theme. I was a crazy person, tipsy with useless ideas.

I don’t do that anymore. Thankfully. It went bye-bye forever right along with all the pressure for more shopping right up to the minute.

It’s your stress.

It’s no one else’s stress. They don’t have to agree with you or find the same thing stressful.

Many years ago, on several Christmas Eve days I was shopping at the Mall of America with my ex-husband. That was super stressful for me. Was it fun for him? I actually think, yes, it was. (Go figure!) 

But I’m a grown-up. So are you. I own my stress.

I do not like to shop. Shopping on Christmas Eve or anytime but especially when  I am supposed to be resting from my labors is no longer acceptable. So I don’t do it.

2. Find the deeper reason

Spend a little time reflecting. Do you know what that drive behind the stressor really is? Why haven’t you abandoned it before now?

Could it be obligation or guilt or people pleasing, trying to be good enough, buy love, keep up appearances, or with the Joneses, or make up for something, disguise some lack?

I bet if you dig deep, you know what this is really about.

I certainly know what was driving me. Letting it go was key to my health. And that’s the next step.

3. Let it go.

Look, you are a grown-up. It’s about time those subconscious drives from forever-ago stopped running the show. You get to do what you want with all that baggage.

And if it’s not serving you, let it go. Breathe in, say you’re letting it go and then expel it with your exhale. You don’t gotta. Anymore. So don’t.

Just let it go.

You’re not a bad mate or parent, sibling, or child. You are all grown-up and if it’s not adding to your life, just don’t do it. Let it go.

I know that can be harder to DO than to want to do.

For some of you, it’ll be easy. Just reading through this has given you clarity and been a great reminder. You actually will follow through, change things up, and have a different experience this year.

But all of us could use a little help and support to make that change.

That’s what I’m here for

Let me help. I walk people through this all the time. I’m here for you if you need me. Give a call or send a message. Let’s get started on your best holiday season ever.

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