Kill ‘Holiday Stress’ Syndrome With these 10 Tools..

Have you ever heard it said that suicide rates rise over the holiday season? According to many psychologists that information is false. Although there are suicides committed during every holiday season, the impending date on the calendar is not the trigger. The true trigger is the rise in rates of depression and stress in many people during the holiday season. Here are 10 tools to help you win the fight against what has become known as “Holiday Stress Syndrome”.

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1. Forget about trying to do so much. A quick route to holiday angst is overburdening yourself with too much to do. Don’t take on too many tasks, accept too many invites, consider obligations very carefully. Plan on taking it easy. Say “no” to anything non-vital, delegate tasks whenever possible, and manage YOUR time so as not to avoid creating undue stress. Choosing to do less will leave you with more time, energy and desire to enjoy the most important part of the season – yourself, family and friends.

Tell me about your most chaotic holiday experience below..


2. Balance your suppositions with reality. You almost assuredly won’t get everything you want, someone in your family will inevitably piss you off, best laid plans will change, and you may not feel like Christmas caroling this year. However, it’s important to bear in mind that everything is seldom perfect or within your control, and more importantly- it doesn’t have to be. Be able to let go of that which is beyond your control. Try not to be get stuck on negative expectations, you will only bring them into being. Do you have a family member you tend to clash with? Whats a different way of dealing with them last year?

Have a predictable holiday fiasco looming. Tell me about where “The Floor Is Your’s” below.


3. Plan ahead. Have a predetermined plan for how to address the remainder of your holiday season prep following Thanksgiving. Don’t wing it. Start planning as soon as reasonable. Holiday planning is a leading cause  of Holiday Stress Syndrome. Know when you’re going to begin shopping (that may mean considering the dates of  your pay days, in order to create a reasonable, executable budget), and stick to your plan.

Have a crazy Black Friday story to share? The floor is yours down below.


4. Plan to not overspend. Create a reasonable list and budget and DO NOT DEVIATE. Remember, your presence is more valuable than presents. Marginal people on your Christmas list? Cut them ahead of time, don’t agonize over it later. People aren’t as touchy as we think.


5. Diminished exposure to sunlight (due the time change) and bad weather can trigger depression. Use of full-spectrum lighting- specifically, light bulbs  containing the full spectrum of color (including ultra-violet and infrared in your home can lessen SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

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6. Moderate holiday foods, and exercise. It’s normal to eat more during the holidays, but that doesn’t mean we have to overeat. Be aware of how certain foods affect your mood. Fats and sweets will deplete your energy, which can make you feel more stressed and run down. Consider taking a walk before and/or after a big holiday meal. Walking half an hour or so before a meal can lower sugars and fats that settle in the blood after eating. A light walk half an hour or so after a meal if you want to speed up your metabolism to burn those calories.


7. Schedule a time to reflect on those you may be separated from or have lost. Plan time to honor memories of people you’ve lost, and also to connect with those you are only separated from. Make plans to celebrate again when you can all be together.

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8. Allow yourself time to decompress from the holidays.. For some, the end of the holidays is a relief. However, for many others it is a big let down. Avoid Post Holiday Syndrome by easing out of all the festivities by planning a day or two of rest toward the end of the season.

If you had the time to watch an entire season of any TV series this holiday season, what would it be?

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9. Adopt forgiveness and acceptance. Don’t waste time fearing dealing with difficult relatives and family members. You cannot change anyone’s behavior, but you can anticipate it and accept there’s not much you can do. Be prepared, have an exit strategy if need be, but most let it go. Don’t waste precious moments on discord.
10. DO NOT ISOLATE. If you are separated from friends and family, feeling lonely or left out- GET OUT OF THE HOUSE, and seek ways to participate.  Decorate your home. Go somewhere where you can hear the music, see the lights and sights, and be around others. Consider spending time helping the less fortunate.
What tricks do you us to avoid stress during the holiday season? Scroll down, and tell me what you think about what you’ve read in “The Floor Is Your’s” area below. 
Wishing you a peaceful and joyous holiday season. Happy Holidays!
-O. Salim Thornton, CWC, TCI

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