How To Reduce Stress During The Holidays
Make your Holiday Season less stressful, and more fun.
After talking with several friends, it seems we all had one thing in common. This holiday season is very stressful. Each person had different reasons, but they all were under stress, and clearly not enjoying things as much.
For me, managing stress has been a never-ending learning process, because life continually changes. I thought some of you reading this might be going through similar situations and could be interested in what I’ve learned. So, I wrote this article will give you some practical ways I’ve found can make the holiday season less stressful. Hopefully, you’ll also be able to enjoy it much more as well. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Also. . . Some might be wondering why we’re talking about stress here.
For those that don’t know, our goal at Women and Couples Wellness is to help people transform their lives, and enjoy life more.
hi® users reading this are part of a very special group of people.
You’re making the effort to live life to the fullest. I respect that and know you’ll make use of this.
So what can we do? I was thinking about that over the weekend, and here are seven things you might want to ponder.
The holidays are usually thought of as being times people look forward to and really enjoy. But for just about everyone, it also adds new and different stresses. This is, even more, the case with the current pandemic and economic challenges we’re all dealing with. Just meeting with family members now has the real risk of possibly exposing each other to covid-19. We’re definitely in a very stressful time.
On top of this, for many people, there’s the “normal” stress associated with seeing relatives again. Then for others, we may be alone for the holidays, sometimes for the first time. This is especially the case when we’ve lost a loved one. What had been a special time that was shared, is now a reminder they are no longer here.
1. Accept that this time may be stressful, but consciously decide that you are going to get through, it and make the best of it.
Many times we just go into the holidays focusing on all the things we have to do and don’t think about ourselves. We get so caught up, it’s only later we realize we’re stressed out and exhausted. It can help a lot if we add taking care of ourselves to our holiday to-do list. If you feel guilty setting aside time to take care of yourself, think about this. If you’re in a better mood, all the people around you will enjoy the holidays more as well.
I also want to touch on another variation of this. Sometimes we’re so focused on work deadlines, or other commitments that all our attention is on the stress of that. In that case, we often don’t even enjoy the holidays, and just go through the motions. Instead of enjoying the moment with friends and family, we’re worried about a deadline. For many years, I did that with work. Thankfully realized I was missing out on important parts of my families, and my own life. I realized that when I’m elderly looking back at my life, odds are I’m not going to value the work deadlines. What I believe will be precious are the times with Wendy, our daughter, family, and friends. So, I challenge you to think about the next few weeks and decide that no matter what is going on, you’re going to try to really enjoy it. Maybe write down what you can do to make that happen. If you put it on your calendar, it’s more likely to happen.
2. Try to appreciate, or at least deal with relationship challenges.
Getting everyone together around the holidays increases the chances of having conflicts with family members that you may not see every day. So when I’m going into a situation that I know I might have a conflict with someone, I try to ask myself three questions.
First, I try to remind myself that while I may have disagreements, I would miss this person if they were gone. I try to appreciate the time together because we never know how long we have. Anyway, wouldn’t your life be better if you somehow could be at peace with that person?
Second I try to think of topics I can bring up that will avoid an argument and focus on them. If that’s not possible I try to find ways to minimize interacting with them. If they initiate things that could start arguments, I try to not take it personally.
Finally, I remind myself that odds are I (and the rest of my family) will enjoy the family event much more if I don’t get in an argument. Now I know this doesn’t always work, but if it can reduce the conflict even just a little, my thought is any improvement helps. So, think about the people you might have disagreements with and ponder each of the above three questions in relation to them. Who knows, it might help more than you think.
3. When things get tough, talk to friends and get support.
If you have friends you can trust and confide in, this is a good time to talk. Or if you are seeing a therapist you might want to reach out to them. Holidays are often major times people deal with depression, and you don’t have to be alone.
Reaching out to friends, or support groups is especially important if you’ve lost a loved one. Just talking about it can really help. I have experienced that very personally when Wendy and I lost our son Luke. That first Christmas was hard because I’d already gotten him his first presents. I ended up giving them to a “Toys-For-Tots” program at the local grocery store. The important thing was that Wendy and I were able to share our pain with each other, and some close friends. This made a huge difference. So if you’ve lost someone you care for, I encourage you to reach out. I can say from my own experience that it really helps.
If you don’t have friends you can confide in, you might want to seek out a therapist if that option is available. I know that experience can be truly horrible, and being able to talk about it to someone else can really help.
Another thing to really think about is this. If you’re missing a loved one, odds are they cared for you and wanted what would be best for you. What would they want you to do? Stay alone and feel even more isolated, or be with others and try to find some happiness in the season? I think being with others is almost always the case, so if you want to honor what the person you’ve lost would have wished, you owe it to them to try to make the most of things. Now that being said, it can be sometimes exhausting if you are being surrounded by family and friends constantly asking how you are. Sometimes we need space to deal with things, so if you do it’s important to tell them. But also please tell them you really appreciate their caring and want to leave things open to talk about this in the future when you’re ready. That type of friendship and support is one of the most valuable things in life. Of course, I know this is easy to say, and truly hard to actually do, but I encourage you to at least think about it. Plus if you have close friends or a partner, now is a good time to talk with them.
4. Make sure you have a handle on costs, and REMEMBER what the real meaning of the holidays is.
This year in particular is really rough financially for many people. Everything costs more. No matter what your beliefs are, I think we can agree that the real purpose of this season is to bring us together and remind us of how important our relationships are. We’ve been brainwashed by our media that we have to spend a lot to show our affection. I believe that this is the exact opposite of the truth. To really let people know we care about them, we need to be with the people we care about, and focus on enjoying the time together. Many times you can give someone a gift of doing something for them that will have a much bigger impact than buying them something.
A great thing my fellow hi® users can do is give their partner a card for getting a weekly hi® massage. That could be a back massage, a foot massage, or a special massage depending on your situation. Getting a massage like that would be very expensive normally if they went to a massage therapist. Plus you get to spend time with them. You also can do things a massage therapist likely can’t. This can be priceless.
While hi® does cost money to purchase, it is a gift and valuable service you keep giving your partner. That being said though, if you don’t have a hi® unit, you can also offer a regular massage. hi® is just a powerful way to amplify the massage for your partner.
A great question to ponder is what kind of service you can provide as a gift that they’ll truly enjoy. Plus again, it’s good to remind ourselves that what is truly important is the time we spend together. The older I get, the more I appreciate this. I really wish I’d understood that better when I was younger as well.
5. Schedule time to recover, during and after the holidays.
Many times we get so busy with all the details of parties, gifts, meals, travel, and guests it can take a toll on our health. When you look at your calendar for the next few weeks, it’s a good idea to prioritize some time to take care of yourself. If there’s something you do that really helps you relax, do it. I know you’re likely going to be a lot busier, but if you add time to care for yourself, both you and your family will be better off. hi® self-massage, both intimate and for relaxation is very good for this. Also, if you are in a relationship and want to really take extra special care of your partner, tell them you want to schedule times to give them a hi® massage. We’ll show some specific routines in upcoming emails. Or check our training center for ideas right now.
If you have guests staying with you, it also can be a good idea to set aside a little time to go for a walk outside away from them. While having friends and loved ones visit is wonderful, if they’re staying several days it can be stressful. So having a little separate time can help you feel better so both you and your guests can enjoy the visit as much as possible.
So the question you may want to ask is, how can I best take care of myself during this time, as well as taking care of everyone else.
6. Keep up with your healthy routines
I already mentioned this idea in the previous suggestion. But it’s important enough to bring up again. Particularly if you regularly work out, meditate, or do any other wellness activities. Try to make sure you continue doing them through the holidays. I know myself that it’s really easy for those to be the first thing you drop when you get busy. But if you keep your routine, odds are you’ll feel much better. This is particularly true with exercise. We cover this in much more detail in our training programs, but the best way to deal with stress usually is exercise. Our bodies respond to stress by releasing cortisol, and similar hormones. Our bodies release that to prepare us for physical exercise. So it causes our liver to release glucose (blood sugar) and our body to be “revved up” for a fight or flight situation. This helped our ancestors survive, but their threats were usually physical. So it did exactly what was needed back then. Today though, many of our stresses are mental – especially around the holidays. This isn’t healthy for us to live long term. It’s like we’re driving around in our car with one foot on the gas to the floor & the other on the break. So even though your stress may be mental, if it gives you that stressed-out feeling, odds are a little exercise every now and then will help you feel a lot better. Even if it’s just something quick. Wendy always knows something was stressful for me when she walks in the office and sees me doing pushups on the floor. Of course, use common sense here, and if you have any health issues that would make exercise a bad idea, definitely get your doctor’s OK first. Doing that, plus the next technique I’ll show can help a lot.
So when you look at your schedule of all the new things you’re going to be doing, try to make sure it doesn’t interfere with your normal exercise routines. Or if it does, see if there’s something physical (like going for a walk) you can do with your partner or guests when they’re there.
7. How to really reduce stress with a simple, but powerful technique.
If you have taken many of our training programs, you’ve probably already learned about hi® meditation. Basically, it’s an easy-to-learn physical technique that can give anyone a level of relaxation you normally have to meditate much longer to achieve. This is the perfect solution if you haven’t been able to meditate in the past because you have been too distracted. Or, if you are highly experienced with meditation, I think you’ll find this a very interesting tool to add. I created it in the early 1990s to help myself better relax. For most of my life (since I was 8) I’ve been studying (then later practicing and teaching) various martial arts, and other Asian practices. But I always had a lot of problems being able to calm or “quiet” my mind so I could really meditate. This simple technique is the result of my pondering that for about 40 years.
The great thing is it’s easy, fast, and very powerful. You don’t even have to believe it works. Just follow the physical technique and then notice how you feel afterward. You can do it in any situation where you don’t need to maintain your focus. For instance, don’t do this while driving, etc. I’ve taught this to hundreds of students over the years. Now I want to share it with you. Think of it as my present to you for the holidays.
In my next email, I’ll provide specific details about how you can use hi® meditation. Plus I’ll give specific examples of how you can apply it right now.
As a preview though, just watch this video explaining it.
Then, in a few later emails, after we’ve covered hi® meditation, I’ll show you some specific hi® self-care techniques, Then I’ll cover techniques you can use on your partner to help them relax.
These can be a wonderful present for yourself or your partner. This is especially true during the holidays, and can be the start to a great new year!
So I hope my pondering on this can give you some applications for your own situation. I know we’re all unique and have our own situations. But at the same time, we’re all human and have similar general trends.
These are a few of the things that have helped me enjoy the holidays, and enjoy life more.
Again please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Wendy, Steve and the Women and Couples Wellness Family
P.S. if you haven’t yet purchased a hi®, it can make a huge difference in reducing your own stress, plus helping your partner feel amazing. We currently have a holiday special running for a few days. Join the thousands who have already experienced the benefits of hi®, and it will take your life to a new level!