Holidays are almost here and if you’re like me, stress is creeping up on you. Where will we be going? Who’s coming home this year? Will The Mom let us have the kids this time? Do the stepkids want to come over to our home? Should I be buying my stepkids anything at all?

So many questions and no real answer. Truth is, there is no perfect answer for everyone. It always DEPENDS. Don’t you hate that word?

Listen, stress is part of life and very much so when it comes to holidays.  Would you be surprised if I told you that stress has been named as a major underlying cause in up to 90% of illnesses? That’s pretty scary when you think about it. No wonder when the holidays come around, we feel even more stressed.

One of the best ways to manage your stress around the holidays is to first become aware of exactly what it is that causes you stress, because if you can name the stressor, then you can do something about minimizing it if not eliminating it all together.

One technique for dealing with stress is called, “Name It, Tame It”.  

Take a moment and notice what stresses you. Be as specific as possible. Instead of writing down “my stepkids”, “The Mom”, “cooking” write what it is about that specific area that causes your stress:

  • Not feeling appreciated
  • No control over the schedule of the holidays
  • Uncertainty about how much or for who to prepare meals for

When you are specific in naming your stress, you have taken an important first step to taming that stress. Being specific helps you make clearer decisions about what you can do to reduce your stress.

Here are a few examples of what you can do:

  • Make a list of the times you were appreciated for what you did
  • Send an email requesting what are the plans of those on your list. Send them a plan of what you want to do in return
  • Ask for help. Involve others in the preparation of the holidays.
  • Take some time to take care of your needs as well. If you’re not feeling your best, there is no way you can be your best with others.

These are just a few examples of what you could do to bust your holiday stresses.

Want to read more tips about holiday stress busters? Here is an article that might help you: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/12/03/20-dependable-holiday-stress-busters/

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