Are you looking forward to the holidays? Or do you dread “the happiest time of the year”? For many people, the holiday season is associated with stress and anxiety. To not disappoint their friends and families, they spent countless hours decorating their houses, preparing meals in the kitchen and hunting for gifts in the overcrowded malls. And once it is all over, they feel exhausted, underappreciated and often worried about having maxed out their credit cards.So what can you do to stay peaceful and relaxed during the upcoming holidays? Here are a three of the most common stress-triggers and what you can do to avoid them.
Overwhelm: At the beginning, you have wonderful dreams and ambitious goals – this holiday season will be perfect. You make lists, plans and are determined to stay on top of everything. But soon, with new tasks, demands and obligations creeping up, the pile of “what is not done yet” is growing to overwhelming heights. So make a list of what is truly important to you about the holidays and ask your family to do the same. Surveys showed that for most people sharing a harmonious and pleasant time with their loved ones, is more important than a lavish meal, the perfect home decoration or an expensive gift. Therefore, slow down and make creating an atmosphere of joy, harmony and love your priority. Be present with the people that are important to you, and include them in your holiday preparations.
Self-neglect: In the spirit of over-giving and under-appreciating yourself, you give up on your self-care routine and deny yourself anything that replenishes your energy and makes you feel positive and grounded. You eat too much of the food you usually avoid; you drink more and sleep less than is good for you; you don’t spend any time alone and stop meditating, because you feel the pressure and pull of the people around you; you spend more money than your budget allows and choose to ignore that your credit card is close to being maxed out.
Although it can be pleasant and refreshing to step out of the routines and obligations of our daily lives, a lack of self-care and self-responsibility ultimately leads to the classic “holiday hangover.” You feel ungrounded, out of shape, and on the verge of being broke. So make sure to maintain a healthy balance between indulging in the sweetness of the holiday bubble and staying committed to what you know generally makes you feel positive, centered and empowered.
Reverting back to childhood patterns: Usually, it took just three days with my folks, to have my inner child take the steering wheel from me. It still astounds me, with what accuracy family members can find and push the buttons, they had installed decades ago. For many, the most stressful aspect of the holidays is getting together with their family of origin. “Why do I still let my dad get to me?” “How come that I can’t speak up for myself when my brother is mean to me?” “Why do I still compete with my cousin, the golden child of the family?” You may have asked yourself a similar question, wondering, why you can for 360 days of the year feel like a competent adult, and just after a few hours with your family, shrink back down to the size of a 10-year-old.
The reason for this strange phenomenon lies in the subconscious mind, and how it has learned to respond to certain cues and triggers. Similar to you picking up the phone when it rings or getting out of bed when the alarm sounds, your subconscious mind makes you contract, avoid, please or rebel against the people you grew up with, just like you used to do early in your life. Why? Because this was the way your subconscious tried to protect you to not get hurt or rejected.
Since for most people falling back into the old childhood, patterns are more painful than an inconsiderate remark of a stressed-out parent, it can be worthwhile to spend some time preparing your subconscious mind for this upcoming time with mom, dad, and the clan. Simply make a list of all the usual triggers, such as remarks about your looks, questions about your finances or attempts to get you involved in a pointless political discussion. Then write down how you want to perceive and respond to them from a more calm and self-empowered place. You could, for example, have compassion for your dad, who may feel as insecure as you do when you are together in the same room. Rather than getting annoyed with your mom interrogating you, you could just ask her questions about her childhood and how her family used to celebrate the holidays. Instead of feeling hurt or insulted by a careless statement about your weight, respond from a place of confidence by expressing that you are happy with how you look, or that your body will get back on the list of your priorities as soon as your challenges at work are resolved. In other words, stay centered and grounded in your adult self, and accept that, while you have grown and evolved, some of your family members may not know yet how to relate to this mature version of you. But if you care about them, you will find the patience to introduce them to who you are now and how you want to be treated by them.
Find out more how you can go stress–free this holiday season and listen to my upcoming Empowerment Radio Show, on Wednesday, December 20 at 11:00 AM PST and learn more tools on how to make this holiday season truly enjoyable and memorable.
P.S. Want to start the New Year with a clean slate and not bring unaddressed anxiety and fear into 2018? Or are you still looking for a meaningful gift for someone you care about, who struggles with fear, anxiety, and insecurity? Be sure to check out my new Video-On-Demand Fear and Anxiety Solution Seminar.
I wish you and your loved peace, love, and happiness for this holiday season.