Here are some tips on how to handle the stress of the 2012 Holiday Season.
- Just say "No": You may have several Holiday Parties and get together events and invitations but you just can't be everywhere and please everybody this holiday season. Take time for yourself by going for a long walk, getting a massage, reading a good book. All of us need some time to re-charge our batteries, and by slowing down you'll actually have more energy to accomplish your goals.
- Volunteer: Many non profits and charitable organizations have been hurting due to the economic downturn. So find a local organization whose cause you connect with and spend some time helping and supporting them. It could be anything from helping the homeless, suicide prevention, a soup kitchen, or toys and clothes for deserving children (such as our local "Operation Santa" here in the greater North Hollywood area).
- Set realistic goals and expectations: Not everything this Holiday Season is going to go as planned. The tree may end of being lopsided, the homemade jelly doughnuts might need to be replaced by store bought, and the in-laws might be arriving early. Whatever it is, remember you can't be in control of everything and you just gotta roll with the punches sometimes.
-Get a support group: Simply talking with friends and family about your anxiety and stress is a good thing. Don't bottle things up inside. Remember, we need people in our lives to be sounding boards from time to time to help us sort out our thoughts and actions. Nobody is perfect.
If you continue to feel overwhelmed with stress, consult with a psychologist or other licensed mental health professional. He or she can help you identify problem areas and then develop an action plan for changing them.
I wish you, your friends, and your loved ones a low stress and safe Holiday Season in 2012. And a Happy New Year in 2013.
Jack Witt, MS, CPT
Fitness and Health Coach