Managing Holiday Stress

Everyone knows the holidays are stressful - family, finances, expectations - they all set the stage for a myriad of thoughts about not being good enough, not being successful enough, etc. In my house, the flurry of activity is added to a life that is already busy with school, work, raising a child, and caring for two pups. The added demands are challenging to manage, even though we are fortunate enough to have advantages that other families do not. So, how do you cope with stress when you have ZERO time to breathe, let alone take time out for self-care? 

I always suggest falling back on the basics of mindfulness: paying attention to the present moment without judgement. Often, we rush so much through each task on our agenda that we fail to enjoy anything. I personally fall victim to this all too often. To avoid this, consciously decide on at least one task per day on which you are going to focus your whole attention. During that task (e.g., cooking dinner, taking a shower), notice each sensation, pay attention to your movements, and most importantly, do not evaluate its worth. By bringing mindful attention to daily tasks, you're enhancing your experience, decreasing your stress, and improving your mood without adding any time to your day. It's the perfect recipe for holiday stress management!

With that, I wish you all a Happy Holidays! See you in the new year!