Do you ever wish you were a kid again? Ever hope that the child-like wonder and anticipation you felt surrounding the month of December would return?
In adulthood, so much can drown out the joy and anticipation of the holidays. The main culprit is often stress. During the holidays, we tend to have a lot going on—a lot more than usual. With end of the year deadlines at work, family conflict, financial burdens, additional extracurricular activities, or hosting holiday gatherings—it is easy to feel the stress pile on.
At Your Vision Achieved (YVA), we would like to share three tangible ways to help minimize anxiety the holidays often bring.
Treat Yourself. Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project notes, “If I give more to myself, I can ask more from myself. Self-regard isn’t selfish.” Treats may sound self-indulgent and frivolous, but they are not. When we give ourselves treats, we feel energized, cared for, and contented. Treats should be inexpensive little pick-me-ups like a small Dove chocolate, soaking in a bath, listening to calming music, or making time for a date with your partner.
Take a deep breath. When we feel stressed, our breathing rate and pattern changes as part of the ‘fight-or-flight response’. Fortunately, we have the power to deliberately change our own breathing. Scientific studies have shown that controlling your breath can help promote relaxation and reduce stress. Try practicing abdominal breathing techniques, taking a yoga class, or downloading a mindfulness application on your mobile device like Stop, Breathe, and Think.
Express Gratitude. If you want to reduce stress, give thanks. Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with stress. Gratitude is like a muscle and as such, requires exercise to stay fit and functional. Start your gratitude practice today by keeping a gratitude journal by writing down 5 things you are grateful for each day, or say thanks to someone who did something nice for you recently.
At YVA, we hope these strategies will help bring comfort and joy back to your holiday season. However, we understand that stress and anxiety sometimes requires more intense interventions, such as talk-therapy. In which case, the therapists at YVA are trained and ready to assist you in finding support and solution.