by Wendy Watkins

3 Tips to Decompress from Holiday Stress

Simple ways to add more celebration to your season

FOR MANY, December is far from “the most wonderful time of the year.” There are a variety of reasons stress overrides joy during this seemingly festive time. If you’re one of the thousands that would rather get a root canal than embrace the holiday season, this is especially for you.

Here are three tips to set yourself up for a less stressful holiday season:

1. Your Thoughts: Stop “shoulding” yourself

Creating unrealistic expectations increases stress. Sarah worries about buying perfect gifts for everyone. With a teacher’s budget, this can be a challenge. Last year she created a list of people she wanted to gift instead of the ones she felt she should gift. She stopped “shoulding” on herself and experienced more joy. 

When you release worrying what others think and focus on what brings you happiness, your stress will be reduced. The irony is while you are worrying about what others think of you, they are not thinking about you and the gifts you give or do not give at all. You are “shoulding” on yourself with this thinking.

2. Your Words: Saying no to your FOMO

Pay attention to what you say yes to and no to. Setting healthy personal boundaries allows the necessary time for the activities that bring joy. Grant loves to attend every party they’re invited to. This creates anxiety for his partner, Doug. They agreed that Grant should be more aware of what he’s committing to.

Offering regrets to an event when you want to attend can be challenging, especially if you have FOMO (fear of missing out). When you say yes to every gathering you’re invited to, you’re saying no to something else, such as time with your family or time to gather and wrap gifts. Grant honored Doug’s request and replied with, “I’ll check our calendar and get back to you shortly.” This provides time for intentional decisions of how their precious holiday time is spent.

3. Your Reactions: Teflon’s not just for cooking

When something doesn’t go the way you want it to, allow the situation to roll off you like fried eggs slide off a Teflon pan. No one enjoys a sticky pan. Mary’s political views are different than her family’s. When she learned the Teflon approach to sticky situations, her whole attitude changed towards gatherings. With practice, she can now consciously choose to let their contrasting opinions be their views instead of defaulting to annoyance and defensiveness. She chooses to be happy instead of being right.

Wendy Watkins lives in Decatur with her husband, Matt and dog, Eli Moises Velcro Watkins. By day, she is a Joy Strategist helping frustrated business owners learn to raise their Joy Factor for flourishing success. By night, she’s a foodie who loves Jeopardy, time with friends and family and all things creative. You can find more about her at wendywatkins.com or follow her on facebook.com/joystrategist.