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How to Deal with the Holiday Stress: 5 Timeless Tips

“May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart!”
Eskimo proverb

The holidays are upon us.

A time of needed relaxation and more time with the people closest to us.

A time of stress and worries. A time of not all the joy you may have hoped for or been promised by upbeat advertising and movies.

It can be a time of mixed feelings.

So today I would like to share 5 powerful and timeless tips that can help you to make these holidays a more joyful and peaceful time.

1. Slow down.

“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”
Lily Tomlin

First, slow down. Even if it may feel silly and if you have to force it a bit. Slow down your body, move and walk slowly.

Breathe slower and more deeply with your belly (and focus on doing just that for two minutes and see what happens).

Slow down your eating (this will not only help you to relax, it will also help you to not eat too much during the holidays since it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full).

Slow it all down and pay attention to what you are doing. Be here now and focus on doing just one thing at a time. By slowing down, by being here now, by not having your focus split between many things you – your body and your mind – start to relax.

2. Appreciate the little things instead of focusing on perfection.

“Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon.”
Winnie the Pooh

Daily happiness is to a large part about appreciating the small things. If you just allow yourself to be happy when accomplishing a big goal or when everything lines up just perfectly then you are making life harder than it needs to be.

Instead, focus on appreciating things that you may take for granted.

Take two minutes and find things in your life you can appreciate now. If you want a handful of suggestions, here are a few of the things that I like to appreciate around the holidays:

  • All the tasty food.
  • My health.
  • My family and friends.
  • That I have a roof and a warm home as the snow is falling and the cold winds are blowing.
  • The beautiful wintery landscapes.

3. Give a bit of joy to someone else.

“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

This may sound like an empty cliché but it surely works. One of the best ways to become happier is simply to make others happier.

When you make someone else happy you can sense, see, feel and hear it. And that happy feeling flows back to you.

And since the Law of Reciprocity is strong there is another upside. People will feel like giving back to you. Or like paying it forward to someone else.

And so the two (or more) of you keep building an upward spiral of for example positivity, of helping out, of cheering up and of lending a listening ear and support.

4. Focus on what is most valuable.

“You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.”
Eric Hoffer

“Joy is not in things; it is in us.”
Benjamin Franklin

Instead of focusing on a lot of things focus on what is most important and valuable to you.

If you still have Christmas gifts to buy then instead of giving away a lot of expensive stuff it may be better to give one thing that the person you are giving it to will truly appreciate.

Or maybe you could skip giving a physical thing altogether. And instead give away an experience that will become a special day and cherished memory for him or her or for the two of you.

However you choose to go about things over the holidays make it YOUR choices as best you can and not a bunch of shoulds that mostly make you feel deflated.

5. Just accept how you feel right now.

“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”
Carl Jung

Maybe you try some of the tips above. And they still can't help you to shake that negativity, worries or stress you are carrying around. I would then suggest that you just accept that the feeling is there.

Tell yourself: This is how I feel right now and I accept it.

This might sound counter-intuitive and like you are giving up. However, by accepting how you feel instead of resisting it you reduce the emotional energy that you are feeding into this conflict or problem.

And it then tends to lose speed like a car that runs out of fuel. Sometimes the problem or conflict will then become so weak that it just moves out of your mind.

By accepting what is you have now freed up energy and your attention so your mind can become more level-headed, open and constructive once again. And you can see more clearly and take focused action towards a solution.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Wow you did a wonderful job I loved it. I am just amazed to see the diverse thinking of people about these topics and that the people love to read the motivational stuff. I am also a trying to help people to get rid of depression and making them realize the best gift they have “The Life”.
    If you guys have time do read on of my blog as well :)

  • Pam

    While I try all of these, #5 is the most helpful. I do not like this ‘season’, but honestly try to not rain on most other’s parade. That means at least giving the appearance of participation. I’m finding Prozac and prescription sleeping pills to be most helpful.

  • Teniola Ayodeji-Oyeniyi

    Thank you.

  • Susana

    me resulta muy ùtil todo lo que escribes ,muchisimas gracias!

  • Kristen Elaine Wiseman

    Well said, little things mean so much. People have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. …. Christ being born and the children. Teach your children are the young age what Chris as is truly about.

  • jayaprabha k

    it is very helpful for me .thank you brother.

  • Cassandra Chotiner

    Thank you for these blogs. I was told by two of the most important people in my life that I look at everything negatively so I’ve decided to make positive changes in myself to get a better outlook on life and hopefully make a more positive impression on the people in my life. I did some googling and found your blog and signed up! Thank you for helping me be more positive for myself. It’s very awesome to see others around be more positive from my attitude. I look forward to reading your blogs. They’re fantastic! Happy holidays!
    Oh, one of my favorite things at Christmas time is looking at all the lights.

  • Anonymous

    it is really important and help us to feel peace or prosperity.
    thanks for sharing

  • Michele White

    Thank you, Henrik for all your good, common sense advice and suggestions. I always look forward to reading this blog each week. It helps me keep things in perspective and look for a constructive approach to any difficulties or stresses that come up. This week’s advice on seasonal stress is, as usual, timely and well thought out. I’m sending you lots of happiness and positivity for the upcoming year in gratitude for the kindness and joy you share with others every day.

  • Lloyd

    The slow down advice is aimed right at me!