Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Stress and Holidays

Getting Through the Holidays and How to Manage Them!

It is no secret that the holidays can cause stress.  A recent 2015 Healthline survey that measured holiday stress shows that overall the majority of respondents were stressed. However, more gen Xers reported feeling stressed (65 percent) with baby boomers (62 percent) and millennials (61 percent) neck and neck.

How do we manage the holidays with a happy outcome?  I found an article on managing holidays and creating memories during the holiday season that might be worth pondering.  Although there are specific items in the article
that I don’t endorse and others that seem sophomoric the idea of planning and creating memories are usable.  Also, the idea of a worksheet and an outline work well (so, for example, if you are not a mass/synagogue attendee you could use that time slot to bake, or build a snowman or volunteer at a shelter?).  With the managing of budgets and over spending of gifts, food or trips it might be expected that you unintentionally (or intentionally) snap at the people around you.  

No one is saying that acting out behavior is acceptable but holidays are a season that can cause surface and darker unconscious stressors for all of us.  How do we manage these stressors in our daily lives?  Can holliday pressure affect our workplace, our relationships with friends, family, employees, managers, coworkers, and partners?  The quick answer of holiday stress management is to reduce or push back the stress placed on us during the December season onto the the place it originates or to other people.  This reaction could be to function on an as usual mindset or to use the premack principle by daily or weekly self rewards (go to the gym, buy chocolate, attend a spa day or Netflex movie night -- what is your emotional safety go-to place?).
For some industries stress in the workplace only increases in December (retail department stores; mail order departments; warehouse services; or postal/carrier services); or December slows down dramatically leading to other stressors.  How do you manage children as they are out of school ALL day?  Is this a noticeable financial concern or a time management issue (Do you deal with ongoing ME ME ME energy of children; or do you call in the troops -- grandma or relatives -- to help out; or do you do a road trip only to pray your kid’s get tired at the end of the day)?

With so many complexities ranging from finances, to emotions to historical family issues to rituals it is no wonder that we can neglect to enjoy the holidays.  How can we enjoy anything when we are stressed out?  As a therapist in Los Angeles occusing on strengthening marriage communication through couples counseling in LA, I recommend reviewing this article of 10 tips for keeping your marriage strong during the Holiday.

After reviewing these articles discuss them with your partner to build on goal planning.  My intent of having you review the articles is to collaborate and to take out what does not apply to you while modifying the parts that do in a way that is designed to fit your specific partnership.  This leads to the mastery of partnership.

All to say:  Enjoy and manage your holidays while embracing your partner.  

Read more about Dr. Strayhorn's practice and philosophy...

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