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Holiday Stress Busters

The holidays can be a stressful time.  Here are some stress busting tips for the holidays from CFFM’s Mental Health Team!

1.  Take care of YOU during the holiday season.  Make a point of doing what you love…whether that be writing in a journal, going for coffee with friends, scrap booking, knitting, or playing hockey.  Even a 10-15 minute walk can be helpful.  Don’t let the busyness of the holidays take over every spare minute of your time.

2. Stock up on sleep, which includes power naps – but no longer than 45 minutes. Scientists say that good sleep hygiene may protect the heart from emotional wear and tear and is a natural stress buster over the holidays when schedules vanish under commitments.

3.  Take an email vacation. Researchers tested stress levels by attaching wearable heart rate monitors to office workers and found that their stress levels were much lower when not checking e-mail on a regular basis.  Refuse the urge to check email every day over

the holidays – otherwise, it is not a holiday!

4.  Give yourself permission to say “no” or “wait” to social invites.  Perhaps suggest a get together with friends in January when life settles down.  You’ll enjoy each visit more that way.

5.  STICK TO A BUDGET!  Before you go gift and food shopping decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to the budget.  .Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts. Try these alternatives: Donate to a charity in someone’s name, give home made gifts, or start a family gift exchange!

6.  Try to let go of any expectations you have regarding the holidays; things will never go perfectly, so much is beyond your control. Experiment with embracing radical acceptance … and see what unfolds.

7.  Try letting go of any “shoulds” you have regarding the holidays, particularly regarding feelings — ie. “I should feel exceedingly joyful because it’s Christmas.” It’s a complicated and messy time of year for many people — so have some compassion for yourself. You’re allowed to feel whatever you are feeling!

8.  Shorten your gift list to a select few. Keep it simple. Prepare in advance.  Make to-do lists.  Delegate and simplify shopping by shopping online, or calling stores ahead for list items.  Have the store place your selected item at the front desk with your name on it, for quick pick-up.

9.   If cooking a turkey dinner stresses you out, order pizza.

10. Have a winter picnic in the woods.  It’s all about love, peace and good relationships–not perfect social events.

On behalf of the Mental Health Team, be good to yourself – the best gift of all!

Happy and Healthy Holidays!

Colleen, Cathy, Felicity, Jacob, Sharon, and Elisha