Releasing Holiday Stress

We create our own stress.

One way we create stress is by placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves (which we can control) and everyone else (whom we cannot control).

Unrealistic expectations leave us feeling

  • Physically exhausted
  • Emotionally drained
  • Distracted and not present in the moment
  • Like a failure when things don’t go as expected

We create the pressure of having a Hallmark holiday. Only our lives don’t include a script and fake snow.Our lives include imperfect people, us included.

Unrealistic expectations typcially involve the pursuit of pleasing others. We overextend ourselves in effort to make others happy. As we do this, we throw our body into the stress cycle. Our blood pressure rises, heart rate increases, muscles tense up, and digestion shuts down. Sometimes it’s so much we feel it. Other times it’s the normal we’ve created for ourselves and therefore don’t acknowledge it’s happening.

The number one cause of health issues is STRESS.

  • Holiday stress
  • Work stress
  • Relationship stress
  • Financial stress
  • Health stress

No stress is left out! They all cause a physical reaction in our body. When we are always stressed, we create a new normal in the body.

So, how do we release holiday stress?

  1. Be aware of unrealistic expectations. The first step is always awareness. When we are aware, we can get curious.
  1. Get curious as to the purpose of having unrealistic expectations. Is your perfectionism getting the best of you? Are you trying to please everyone so you will appear loving and good enough? Are you stuck in human giver syndrome? When we get curious, the answers will come to us.
  1. Take a Pause. When we allow ourselves to pause, we can decide WHO we want to be in this moment. Do we want to be a stressed-out mess with unrealistic expectations or calm and relaxed, living in the present moment?
  1. Breathe. There is so much power in our breath. Breathing brings us back to the present moment and grounds us. Breathe into who you want to be at the moment. While you take a few deep breaths, repeat these phrases in your head: I am calm. I am relaxed. I am present.
  1. Stop doing and start enjoying. Leave the dishes and enjoy the company. Let go of being right in a conversation and enjoy the other person’s perspective. Release perfectionism and enjoy the moment as it unfolds.

While it’s tempting to get caught up in the pressures and expectations of the holidays, there is so much freedom in letting go and finding joy in the present moment, even if it’s messy and imperfect.