The most wonderful time of the year is often the most stressful time of the year for many of us. Every year we know that the never-ending shopping lists, end-of-the-year work crunch and holiday gatherings are coming. And, every year, we are decimated by the demands of the season and vow that next year will be different. Well, this year can be different just by using a few simple holiday survival tips.
One of most valuable holiday survival tips is easy as breathing. In fact, it is breathing. When you feel yourself starting to become agitated, focusing on the simple act of breathing gives you a break from thinking about stressors. A few deep and focused breaths will help you feel steadier, clearer headed and more in control.
2. Take Work Home or Take Metta to Work
If you have to work during the holidays, check to see if it’s possible to work from home or remotely to maximize your time and productivity. However, if this is not an option, you can deal with office stress by using the Buddhist technique metta. Metta means “loving kindness” and consists of repeating, “May you be happy. May you be happy. May you be peaceful,” in your head during times of stress. Direct these thoughts toward those you struggle with at work or even just at yourself. Simply repeating this mantra can help you feel calmer and remove internal stressors that may be blocking reasonable resolutions.
3. Smile and Laugh
One of the most enjoyable holiday survival tips is simply championing happiness in one of its simplest forms. It can be hard to tap into your sense of humor when stress is pulling you down. However, you don’t even need to find the humor in the situation to benefit from it. Even if you’re smiling through the pain or laughing through a stressful predicament, these actions cause your brain to release dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins that help you relax and feel better.
4. Use the Pause Button
Before taking on more commitments, pause and consider not only if each one is in your best interest but also if you will be able to enjoy yourself. You don’t need to attend every holiday social function. But you do need to prioritize. So, don’t RSVP as a knee-jerk reaction. Give yourself a moment to get clarity on what you can and cannot fit into your schedule without overbooking yourself.
5. Commit to a Plan That Includes “Me Time”
Out of all the holiday survival tips out there, making time for yourself is probably the most important during this time of the year. Many of us are committed to a full work and social schedule, and “me time” can get lost in the shuffle. Schedule “me time “in advance to relax and decompress.
6. Prioritize Personal Holiday Traditions
Don’t lose sight of what makes this time of the year special for you. Whether it’s charitable giving or time with family and friends, stay present and mindfully attached to the special meaning these activities hold for you. This can make all the effort you devote to other activities that you enjoy less seem worth it. If you don’t have a specific thing you look forward to each holiday season, then try starting some new traditions that work for you to make this time of year meaningful for you and your loved ones.
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