For some, holidays can be one of the most stressful times of the year. Our schedule is filled with events and gatherings leaving us no free time. We rush around buying gifts, decorations, and food. We are constantly cleaning the house to have it ready for our guests. Some gatherings are not only filled with the stress of preparations and deadlines, but old family wounds and insecurities. At the end of the holiday season, we feel drained, tired, exhausted, and depleted. Previously I shared a few ways to make your holiday season work for you.
For many of us though, we don’t just have the holidays going on. We may also be changing jobs, houses, or spouses. We may have a loved one in the hospital or be ill ourselves. Time and again, I see people who are usually juggling a few challenges at once. In working with many people in job transition, it breaks my heart to see how many of them not only have to deal with a sudden job loss but have other challenges as well. The holidays, job transition, moving, illness – these are all factors that add to our stress level. If you want to get an idea of where you are compared to others with the amount of stress you are currently experiencing, check out this quick survey.
The survey can be helpful in realizing the actual extent of your stress, which is the first step to releasing that stress. Many of us accept stress as the new normal. We expect life to be tough. We persevere. We push through. We kill ourselves because we refuse to admit that it is too much. We lead depressing difficult lives because we don’t think there is another option. We think that it is normal to feel unhappy. But it does not need to be.
After being honest with ourselves that we do have stress, the next step is to recognize stress does not need to be “normal” and to see how our stress levels are affecting our joy, our health, and our relationships. How would our experience of life change if we were able to remove our stress? What would improve? Of course, we can not always remove the factors causing the stress. What we can do is change our reaction to the stress. We can change how we approach challenges. We can learn to live more joyfully no matter the difficult situations we are currently experiencing.
Stress does not need to negatively affect your life. Yes, challenges will happen. Life will throw us curveballs. What does not need to happen is to have a sense of powerlessness, victimhood, and anger adding more pain to difficult situations. You do have a choice in how much stress will affect you. To help, I offer a free online course to help you make time to look at your stress level and take the first steps to approaching things differently. Using these simple tools, you can begin to recognize and address your stress in a more positive way. You are also welcome to expand your ability to control your stress through some simple stress hacks and other stress programs offered.
Wishing you a joyous holiday season!