Managing pre Holiday Season Stress

Truly this season is one that brings out in most of us the underlying irrational beliefs and the otherwise less obvious inner conflicts that cloud our general sense of wellbeing.  Stop for a moment and take a deep energizing breath.  As you sense your abdomen expand and your lungs fill, notice the stress you are holding in your body, your jaw, your shoulders, your back, and your chest.  Take another deep breath and let the tension you feel in all those places soften and melt away.

Now in a calmer place, find a paper and pen and start a list of the things you have yet to do in preparation for the big day or days that are important ones for you.

The list can go on and on.  Don’t be surprised if you continue to add to it even later today or tonight.  The list can feel daunting, overwhelming, and aggravating except that you are now going to take more control over that list.

Step 1.  Go over each item on that list and identify which ones are not at all necessary.  Likely it is you who is putting the pressure on yourself to do it and no one will notice much if it doesn’t happen.   Pay special attention if it is something you have to cross town to do or go out shopping in a busy Mall for it.  Each time you cross one thing off, take a deep breath and  notice the relief you feel.

Step 2.  Some of the items on your list really have to be done today.  Mark them with an A.  As you identify them, make a note if there are some things you can link together.  You know.  On my way to do this, I can do that.  Do you have time to do these?  How can you lessen the time it will take, perhaps by simplifying yout initial plan.

Step 3.  Is there something else on the list that won’t take much time and will neatly fit in with one of the tasks you have to do today.  It may be more efficient to do them together even though not necessary.

Step 4.  Now go over your list and mark things that can wait till either tonight or tomorrow with a B.  Cluster them together as you did with the A list.  Start a list specifically for tomorrow and put those items on tomorrow’s list.

Step 5 Notice how you are managing your time and workload better now.  Take a few more of those relaxing breaths and start another list for the day after tomorrow.  Anything left can wait till then and you will not feel as overwhelmed.

Well done.  This is a way of managing your time and problem solving when life seems unreasonably busy.  You can use this strategy at other times during the year.  But always begin by eliminating the things that you really don’t need to do first.  We often put far too much on ourselves and forget that we are supposed to be enjoying ourselves over the holiday season.  We want to be in good spirits to enjoy the company of those we love.

I wish all of you the best of this season of joy and peace.

Till next time.


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