Dr. E Farrell
Getting Through the Holidays
Updated: Jun 13, 2019
What can you do to manage stress during holiday gatherings?
1. Do something different--focus your collective attention outwardly instead of on each other.(e.g.attend an event, volunteer to help organizations that serve the needy, or enjoy the outdoors). Studies show that being in nature reduces blood pressure, muscle tension, and heart rate. Volunteering has been shown to boost well being and reduce depression.
2. Don't bring up issues that cause conflict--focus on the present and avoid trying to resolve old hurts and disappointments.
3. Lower expectations based on unhelpful comparisons. Families & relationships are not perfect despite what is portrayed in the media. An attitude of acceptance and gratitude helps when dealing with difficult friends or relatives
4. If you feel the tension rising, breath deeply. Breathe in 4 counts, hold 2 seconds, and exhale 5 counts to reverse the reaction of your sympathetic nervous system which activates in stressful situations.
6. After that, find a distraction or take some personal time alone to relax and quiet your mind.
Worksheets for a better holiday season:
Anticipating Difficult Holiday Interactions
Activities that help Counter Stress
Developing Personal Rituals Can Help With Grieving