Editor’s Note: this article first appeared on the Washington State Department of Corrections’ intranet.
The holidays are in full swing. That means extra guests, menu planning, events and managing budgets. Here are some tips on how to manage stress during the festivities.
Tips for Dealing With Holiday Stress
- Make Your Well Being a Priority If you don’t take care of yourself no one else will. And if you wish to care for others remember, just like on an airplane, be sure to secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others with theirs.
- Identify Your Stressors We all have particular family members or events that press our buttons, it is important that you know what they are. Identifying the problem is the first step to solving one.
- Plan Proactively Now that you’ve identified your stressors, how can you handle those situations differently? How can you change your attitude toward those people and events to make things tolerable and even meaningful to you?
- Get Adequate Rest Put down the phone and tablet 30 minutes before you go to bed. Create a schedule that allows for the sleep you need and stick to it. The Walking Dead isn’t just a TV show.
- Maintain Healthy Eating Habits Don’t eat your feelings. Fuel your body, live your life and reflect on your feelings. Practice portion control and eat and drink in moderation. Experiment with mindful eating, using the senses in each bite and slowly savoring the flavors and moment.
- Maintain Healthy Exercise Habits Was there ever a better time to begin practicing some healthy stress management? Exercise can help you manage a stressful situation, give you a sense of accomplishment, and give you a pleasant endorphin rush! Remember that exercise comes in many forms, going to the gym, running, walking, actively playing with your pets or kids, dancing, climbing walls, video workouts of all sorts…Anything that gets your blood pumping.
- Practice Gratitude The holidays are a great time to reflect on the blessings in your lives. Try thinking about a time in the last month when you had a genuine moment of connection with another person, an animal or in nature. Reflect on that experience. What in this experience are you grateful for?
- Connect Meaningfully with Others Use the holidays as an opportunity to intentionally spend time with people you care about. The holidays also present several opportunities to volunteer in your community both formally and informally.
- Have a Sense of Humor It won’t all be perfect, but at least we can laugh about it! Laughter can help you manage the stress and put that stress into the perspective it deserves.
The Department of Enterprise Services offers an Employee Assistance Program for state workers at: https://des.wa.gov/services/hr-finance/washington-state-employee-assistance-program-eap (877) 313-4455
You can also get help for yourself or a loved one by calling the National Suicide Prevention hotline: (800) 273-8255