Stress enters our lives in many shapes and forms. Appropriate stress is healthy and useful – and can even help one rise to the challenge and face tough situations with strength and stamina. Stress can also be overwhelming and cause distress – such as anxiety, tension or irritability.
We’ve been talking a lot about dealing with stress throughout the holiday season on Post Rock Extension’s Facebook, Twitter, and Blog. Nora Rhoades, District Family and Youth Development Agent, provides a wealth of information to better understand how stressors impact individuals, and teaches practical strategies that can be helpful with managing stress. Here’s some tips:
- Set expectations – Talk to your family, children, friends, and co-workers about expectations during the holidays. Be open with them if money is an issue. Use this as an opportunity to teach youth about the value of money and responsible spending. Be realistic. Take small steps to deal with holiday tasks instead of overwhelming yourself with goals that are too far reaching.
- Keep things in perspective – Try to consider stressful situations in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing events out of proportion. Model how to keep things in perspective, including what type and the number of gifts to give and receive.
- Make connections – Good relationships with family and friends are important. View the holidays as a time to reconnect with people. Volunteering is a good way to connect with others. Remember that accepting help and support from those who care about you can help decrease the impact of stressors.
- Take care of yourself – Pay attention to your own needs and feelings during the holiday season. Engage in activities you enjoy and find relaxing. Evaluate your calendar and commitments to ensure you do something you enjoy each day. Taking care of yourself helps keep your mind and body healthy and primed to deal with stressful situations.
- Cut back on device use – Instead of dialing into a gadget, go for a walk or play a board game with a friend. This promotes activity and distances you from sluggish time and possible influence from media which may not align with your expectations and values.
- Practice mindfulness – Mindfulness helps calm the body and quiet the mind. Especially during busy seasons like the holidays, it is important to practice focused breathing and other self-soothing activities. Experiencing the joy of the season will be much easier when you slow down, stop, and pay attention to the wonder of the moment around you.
By: Nora Rhoades