Dealing with Holidays in Healthier, Less Stressful Ways

Useful suggestions for dealing with festive stress from Bill O’Hanlon

Plan ahead

  • Think ahead about what shopping and chores need to be done
    and make a plan for who will do what by when.
  • Think of the typical stresses or problems at holiday time and
    make a plan to avoid or minimize them (or to recover from them if they
    occur).

Take time to prepare emotionally and mentally

  • Before the trip or at the beginning of the day, take time to get centered, clear and connected
  • Pray, meditate, write in your journal, visualize the kind of trip/holiday you would like.
  • Connect to internal resources, spiritual resources and other people who are resources for you.

Take time out

During the day, take time out to get centered, clear and connected. Some ideas:

  • Take a walk
  • Exercise
  • Take a nap
  • Make a phone call to a friend who will offer support or help you get perspective
  • Write in a journal
  • Listen to music
  • Take a drive
  • Take a bath
  • Linger in the bathroom just to get away
  • Pray
  • Meditate
  • Read a book
  • Practice your art

Connect with compassion rather than irritation and judgments

If family members or friends do something upsetting, imagine that they are scared or stressed rather than hostile or insensitive. Find a way to get perspective:

  • How much is this going to matter in five years?
  • If this person died on the way home, how would I want our last interaction to have been?

Remember graititude

  • Remind yourself of the things for which you are grateful.
  • Remember the people to whom you are grateful and what they have done for you or contributed to your life.

Bill O’Hanlon, M.S., Possibilities, 223 N. Guadalupe #278, Santa Fe, NM 87501 USA800.381.2374; Fax# 505.983.2761; PossiBill@brieftherapy.com; http://www.brieftherapy.com

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