Monday, November 21, 2016

Holiday Stress Tips to Keep You Merry & Bright

illustration of a stress out worker

It's beginning to feel like I have way too many things to do and not enough hours in the day.

Sound familiar? The holidays can be delightful and stressful. Whether you're traveling somewhere snowy or staying home to enjoy the Valley sunshine, stress can easily creep up on you.

The Rio Salado Counseling team has some tips about stress management and resources that can help you through this busy time. Here is what Elena Matus McDonald has to say about holiday stress.

image of a business man running.

We all experience varying levels of stress at different points in our lives. Sometimes stress increases or decreases during certain times of the year for various reasons. However, it seems that the holidays, in particular, tend to induce higher levels of stress for many, whether it’s due to financial concerns, family issues, traveling demands, and/or a multiplication of errands and tasks, just to name a few. How we manage or cope with stress depends on our emotional resilience.

Researchers Steven Southwick and Dennis Charney (2012) investigated the topic of emotional resilience for two decades. Southwick and Charney examined prisoners of war, survivors of abuse, and tracked underprivileged children into adulthood and found ten keys to emotional resilience. Their fascinating exploration revealed the following factors contributed to the emotional resilience, and ultimately, these individuals’ success in life:

1)  Realistic optimism
2)  The confrontation of fear
3)  Exercising morals 
4)  Spiritual faith 
5)  A support system
6)  Role models
7)  Physical exercise
8)  Lifelong learning
9)  Flexibility
10) Acquiring meaning

So, it is important to take a moment to evaluate your stress levels frequently and assess your emotional resilience. When you are feeling overwhelmed, especially as the holidays approach us and all your daily demands begin to pile up, explore ways to manage stress effectively. One excellent way to start this process is by reading Southwick and Charney’s (2012) work and visiting the article "Emotional Resilience: How to Boost It With 10 Research Backed Secrets." You can also visit Rio Salado’s Stress Management online tutorial to further assess ways to help you manage stress. Then, either discuss your perceptions and thoughts with a peer, co-worker, mentor, instructor, relative, counselor or any person you are comfortable with to engage in a dialogue about this topic. Or another option is to start a journal that records your feelings or perspectives about the stress in your life and brainstorm ways you can increase your emotional resilience to better manage stress. 

Contributed by: Elena Matus McDonald