Handle holiday stress
The Holidays are here and people are talking to me about how to handle holiday stress. I’ve chosen this week to combine these questions and discuss them all together.
Here are some of the questions that people are asking:
- What are the most effective ways to manage holiday stress and anxiety? Mindfulness is one of the most effective ways to manage stress. When dealing with traffic, parking, crowds, shopping, budgets, family and work it’s important to take a moment to just be aware of your breath. One fun and easy way to do this is to wiggle your toes, wiggle your butt, take a deep breath in through your nose and let it out through your mouth. You don’t have to do the hula, but just the thought of the silliness of wiggling your butt will help ground you. This simple technique gets you out of the stress/anxiety trance and back into your body. In that moment, you can know that in spite of everything else, you really are okay. From this calm, relaxed place of being okay, you can handle the stressors.
- How to stay calm during holiday travel despite your anxiety. Meditation, self-hypnosis and other mindfulness techniques can be excellent ways to help you to be calm even in the stressful moments of holiday travel. Remember to breathe slowly and deeply, drink water, eat healthy and walk as much as you can. Bring earbuds to listen to favorite music, which can be soothing; or enjoy an audio book or podcast as a way of distracting your anxious thoughts. You will help prevent anxiety by avoiding alcohol, junk food and fast food. Try and keep your focus on visualizing the good aspects of the trip you expect to enjoy, rather than the hassles of the actual travel. Imagine the taste of your favorite foods, rather fuming about the long lines at the airport.
- How to set a warm tone for your holiday gathering. Should you create rules and boundaries, i.e., no discussion of politics or religion? Start by being emotionally ready and present to welcome your guests. Sounds unrealistic perhaps, but being better organized and prepared can allow you to be more calm and focused when they arrive. Another tactic would be to ask a few key people to come earlier than the others in order to help prepare—and to make that experience as fun as possible. These gatherings should not be about precision and perfection, but the coming together of people and all the complex emotions they bring along. Encourage sharing of feelings, too, especially happy memories of loved ones who are no longer with you.
All 20 guests that will be at our Thanksgiving table have been told that we do not discuss politics at family gatherings. Our family gatherings are a time to commune with each other. It’s a time to talk, listen, laugh and have fun.
- How to diffuse clashes or awkward moments during family gatherings. As hosts, we take the lead and quickly stop any conversations that are becoming caustic. As much as possible, this is done with humor but the message is clear. For example, you might say, “Janet, I know you’re still bothered because your brother doesn’t treat you with the respect you feel you deserve, but please can you leave your 20-year-old complaints on the porch with the muddy boots?”
- What are some practical, easily implementable and humorous ways to keep holiday gatherings cheery? During the Thanksgiving meal, we each share three things that we are thankful for. And, at all family gatherings, we each share at least one fun or humorous event that we have experienced since the last time we gathered. Other traditions to start might be: Involve family in decorating by sending them outside to gather whatever they can find to make a bouquet, then display it proudly, even though it may well be raggedy and brown—it’s the doing of the challenge and getting outside that matters. Make a deck of Helping Cards with chores for the day and have each person draw one, which avoids old patterns of resentment as the same people do the same tasks year after year. Or how about having the kids make costumes for the pets out of wrapping paper and bows, which should keep them entertained for half an hour or so? Before the meal and for as long afterwards as you can manage it, keep ALL cell phones and tablets in a special box that you hide somewhere, and encourage your guests to talk to each other. After all, they are the ones they traveled so far to be with.
My hope and prayer
My hope and prayer for you is that you have relaxed, fun and joyful holidays. One way you can do this is by being your Best Self. Before you open your mouth and say something, ask yourself, “Am I being my best self, right now.” If you aren’t familiar with my Greatest Expression of You process, I will include the link to it in the post that accompanies this video.
If you have questions for Ask Roger, just send me an email to Roger@HypnosisHealthInfo.com.
Your Hypnosis Health Info Hypnotic Suggestion for today:
I have relaxed, fun and joyful holidays.
Since January 2, 1997
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