Thursday, December 5, 2013

How-to Stay Happy and Healthy Through Hectic Holiday Happenings

Hometown visits, elaborate meals, colorfully wrapped packages and cards with hand written holiday wishes are all important traditions, but the mechanics of the holiday experience can cause any light hearted merrymaker to feel a little stressed out.

According to Melanie Abts, Rio Salado College counseling faculty chair, most holiday stress is predictable, so the best strategy is simply to plan for it.

"Being prepared for uncomfortable situations allows us to identify circumstances that are beyond our control and keep things in perspective," Abts said.

For example, whether flying or driving, holiday travel is ugly.  It just is.  Winter weather can cause canceled flights or poor driving conditions, children are wound up and can't be still, security is heightened, traffic is jammed, and there are any number of hiccups that can happen along the way.

Abts suggests avoiding the chaos completely. "Fly on Christmas day if you can," Abts said. "The airports are completely empty, the flight crew is cheerful, and you'll probably get your choice of seating."

"If that's not possible," she added, "Just plan for the worst case scenario.  Give yourself plenty of time so that you don't feel rushed and make sure your carry-on can cover you for a day or two in case your luggage gets lost.  Bring a set of earplugs or a music player and lots of snacks and you’ll be set."

Of course, hometown visits aren't always the most joyous occasions either.   A critical parent, sibling rivalries or even running into an ex can be troublesome.

"If you know you’re going to a family dinner and you know a particular person will bring up something you did last year, or that you’re not a good enough parent or that you're too thin or too fat or why aren't you married yet? You can plan your response ahead of time," Abts said.  “You can’t change other people. You can only change yourself and your reactions. "

Resources like money and time are also in short supply during the holidays.  Running low on either can cause tension and, according to Abts, it's important to prioritize to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

"Sometimes we just take on too much," Abs said. "Especially Rio students who may not even be on a break.  We have start dates as late as December 5, and the holiday season can be a high-need time for those students.”

Abs recommends the stress management workshop available on the Rio Salado College counseling site for students, or anyone else who is feeling distressed during the holidays.

"Distress is different,” Abts explains. "Distress comes from the game changers like death, divorce, or even learning that you have a baby coming.  Even if it's a positive event, if you're already stressed, you might be at your breaking point. It's important to realize that yes, you are in crisis, but you can get through it."

According to Abts, although some people take comfort in holiday traditions, abandoning high maintenance rituals during times of distress might be helpful.

“It’s important during these times to identify what’s important to you and cut out absolutely everything else.  How important are all of the rituals?” Abts said. “If you’re already at the breaking point, don’t expect yourself to bake seven cakes or to plan a charity event.  It’ll be ok. If you don’t do those things, the next day will still happen."

27 comments:

naomi said...

I really agree that “If you’re already at the breaking point, don’t expect yourself to bake seven cakes or to plan a charity event. It’ll be ok. If you don’t do those things, the next day will still happen." Means that there are still many expectations and events that will happen, so do not worry, there's a chance at another time

Seedbox said...

I think I'll be running well into February to burn off the calories I pack on over the holidays season.
Thanks for the informative post.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting! This is great info that can be used throughout the rest of the year, too.

Counselor Boulder said...

I agree with this article. It is really hard to relax during the holidays even though there's no work and everything. Most of our time is spent in preparations and this is not easy. It looks simple but its actually not. Thanks for all the advice. Nice helpful post.

Dr. Dani MD Women's Health Coach said...

As a physician and health coach, I agree it's hard to stay relaxed during the holidays. I teach my patients this easy breathing exercise:


The healing breath is my favorite thing to teach patients:


Inhale through the NOSE and expand the belly for a count of 3. Then pause and hold the breath in for a count of up to 4 (do what you can--if you can't hold the breath don't worry!). Then exhale for a count of up to 7 (again, just do what you can here!) through the MOUTH. repeat 7 times!

hotel donegal said...

It is really cool. These ideas are really helpful to keep healthy. Thanks for sharing.

low carb pancakes said...

Holidays are really busy days and most people prepare fatty foods without considering their healthy. They only care about the fun and taste that they'll get from it. You posted really good suggestions here. Thanks.

judy barnes baker nourished said...

Preparing the right food and planning ahead will help you make an unforgettable and healthy holiday.

keith said...

Very informative and helpful post. Thanks

weight loss ideas said...

Thanks Rio Salado for great ideas!
You can also go for "wellness holidays" its really awesome.

Sensa Reviews said...

Hi,really great information here!

law of attraction said...

I enjoy my life by eating Vegies :)
Thanks Rio Salado for this great article.

divorce lawyers said...

It is so true that sometimes we need to learn not to sweat the small stuff, and to keep a good head on our shoulders. Very nice post.

All Ear Plugs said...

That's a great read thank you, I think we all forget to to take a step back and just chill out at times

Law of Attraction Central said...

I will add a quick bit to this, and I'm para-phrasing. This works in any stressful situation.

If you do not accept a "gift" from someone, to whom does it belong?

No need to sweat anything, just quietly leave the stress with the person that gives it to you.

Matt Hepburn said...

We can get caught up in our lives and forget to take a step back. Looking at things as an observer sometimes helps.

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texas approved defensive driving said...

It mostly depends on an individual's capacity to cope with the stress that comes along with the many festivities that happen on holidays. The word holiday may be commonly accepted as a "break" from everything, but let's also be cautious of its meaning that it may be in fact just sugar coated literal breaking of balance caused by stress and anxiety.

hafizi said...

thank you for very good ideas..

herbert said...

"Fly on Christmas day if you can," This would only be possible if you don' t have family or you are not Christian!

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Randy said...

Definitely lower your standards during the holidays. Things can and will go wrong and you'll be able to deal with the stresses much more easily if you just brush it off. The holidays are time for happiness so just remember what you're most grateful for and it should sort itself out!

yoga healthy fit said...

Well, yoga to stay healthy is one cheap form of activity that you can do on a holiday. It helps you stay in shape and you do not have to go anywhere if you wish. You can enjoy it right where you want to do it. Staying fit and healthy on holidays is challenging.

Mikk the stop divorce guy said...

A Happy Marriage is probably the easiest way to avoid all the hectic commotion that comes with holiday planning. I know one thing for sure, my wife tends to get very hectic during the holidays. Her stress levels increase dramatically and for the longest time it used to stress our relationship out immensely. It wasn't until I got a relationship course called marriage fitness that the holiday's became happy times. We are now best friends and tackle all our daily stresses together. You can learn more about how we do this by checking out a blog I created to promote how to have a great marriage and less stress in your life. It is possible and it is easy!

Brandon Sewell said...

When handling difficult holiday family situations remember this:

You only have to deal with these people for a short time.

Your children love and idolize some of these people so badmouthing them only hurts your kids.

Everyone is feeling stressed so acting as if you are having a good time will go a long way to making others feel the same.

sehat alami dengan produk indonesia said...

Thanks for posting! This is great info that can be used throughout the rest of the year, too.

Anonymous said...

Some great ideas. Thanks

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