How to avoid unnecessary stress in the holidays
December kind of arrives, and I am never really prepared. With all the stress of a long summer here in the foothills of California, and the stressful tragic fires we went through, December was suddenly here.
Yes, it is this time of year. Holidays cheers are everywhere, Santa’s bells are ringing, anticipation is in the air. But with these excitements of the holidays, comes some ‘un-invited guests, STRESS.
We feel that we need to get things done, presents lists checked off, chores completed. We are invited to many Holidays get- together, office parties, family events, friends celebrations, and though it is delight-full to enjoy all these events, it is often mixed with stress of time, financial strains, or even loneliness.
For many of us, holidays are a time of painful memories, ‘first holiday with out mom’, first Xmas tree decorated alone, first holiday with only one parent… At times we can be lonely even when we are not alone, feeling that all around us are cheerful and content, ‘Why can’t I feel joy’?
Holidays celebrations bring people together; families, tribes, communities and friends. We travel long distances to connect with loved ones during the Holidays. We naturally turn to each other, to our people, to get comfort, joy, and connection, because we know that being in touch with those we love is reassuring and joyful.
Families can be a source of strength, connection, love, and caring. It can also be a reminder of violence, neglect, abuse, and disconnection. Around the Holidays, many people experience some kind of P.T.S.D (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome), with reminders and flash backs, of times in their past where the Holidays were a time of dread, addictions, and dysfunctions.
It is important to help those in need around the holidays. Most of your local charities organizations and groceries store offer gift and food donation places. Though hunger and poverty are not reserved for the holidays, it is a time of giving and sharing, so please stop and remember those who are more misfortune than us.
Here are some tips to watch for, prevent, and cope with, holiday stress:
1. Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be PERFECT or ‘just like last year’.. Allow for change and flexibility. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well.
2. Stick to a BUDGET. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Often we feel the need to spend money to show our love. But many times presence comes before presents. And baking cookies or fudge can be economical yummy and fun!!
3. Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus, make your shopping list, know how much time it takes to accomplish what you hope for, and take into account that everything takes longer during the holidays, including traffic!
4. Acknowledge your feelings. If you or someone you close to, has recently experienced a loss, or can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. Be honest. Express your needs. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship.
5. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. So often we overextend ourselves only to feel spent exhausted and depleted. Set clear boundaries even with family and friends.
6. Make sure to take some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Don’t neglect your daily practice of exercising, yoga, or meditation.
7. Take time to do NOTHING AT ALL!!!
Winter Holidays traditions around the world include colorful lights, sitting around the fire, singing hymns and carols, decorations, music, special foods and feasts. Here in the US, our celebrations include giving gifts, parties, and family get-together, which can be wonderful and yet can also be stressful.
Few months present the multicultural celebrations that December does! Whether you celebrate Christmas, St Nicholas Day, Kwanzaa, Yule, Hanukkah, Solstice, Diwali, St. Lucia, Eid al-Fitr, Boxing Day, Saturnalia, Three Kings Day… or any other holiday this month, chances are that it is celebrated with LIGHTS, music, food and family.
Traditions of sitting around the fire, with lights, decorations, music, special foods and feasts, abound. Here in the US, our celebrations include giving gifts, parties, and family get-togethers, which can be wonderful and/or stressful.
Holidays celebrations bring people together; families, tribes, communities and friends at times go on long journeys to connect with loved ones during the Holidays. We naturally turn to each other, to our people, to get comfort and connection and to ward off the hard times because we know that being in touch with those we love is reassuring.
Many couples find it stressful to connect during the holidays. attending to family needs; kids, parents, in-laws, friends and community needs, take precedents and unless we are Accessible Responsive and Engaged with out partner, intimacy can fall way to the bottom of the list.
Couples ask each other ARE you there for me? They want to feel the reassurance that they matter, even in stressful times, that they can turn to each other and hear a resonating YES. You can read more about that in my blog: A.R.E. you there for me? (Accessible Responsive Engaged).
Keeping your love alive, your communication with your partner intimate and transparent, and your sex life juicy and vibrant, can be challenging. Especially as the year comes to a close, and the holiday are adding stress on all of us.,
At our Hold Me Tight® Couples Workshop, in a safe, intimate, private setting, we hold space for couples to become vulnerable and open to explore, experience, touch and talk through issues that have been untouched. It is time set aside to have these conversations that have been waiting for a long time to happen.
At our Hold Me Tight® Couples Relationship Workshop, you will learn and experience how to:
• Affirm strengths in your relationship by developing understanding, communication, and bonding.
• Address negative cycle patterns, and learn why they show up, and how to get out of them.
• Learn how to repair and forgive injuries, and become vulnerable with each other.
• Enhance your emotional, physical, and sexual closeness, and INTIMACY.
In our Hold Me Tight Couples Weekend Workshop, we will be effective, safe, supportive, and validating. Most importantly, the weekend will be positive, proactive and FUN! The tools you learn will continue to serve your relationship long after this weekend.
Owen, is the co-founder of Evryman. Evryman is the company Owen and his colleagues are creating to help men get connected, vulnerable, and find their tribe.
Owen brings with him the width of decades of leading and facilitating men’s group all over the country, helping men access their masculine vulnerability. Owen’s presence, and his work with couples and men, will enhance this upcoming Hold Me Tight workshop, by offering his depth, support, and perspective to the couples in our workshop.
Owen’s TEDX talk: What 10,000 Years Of Progress Has Cost | Owen Marcus | TEDxSpokane
Whether couples come to deal with painful issues such as infidelity and affairs, or to enhance what is good in their relationship, wanting to make it even better, our Hold Me Tight® Couples Workshop, is a safe place to understand your relationship, and learn how to reach FOR each other in times of need, and communicate hopes, wants and needs.
As I keep the groups small and intimate, if you know you want to sign up, I will encourage you to do so shortly, as I do tend to fill up. SPACE IS LIMITED. SO SIGN UP ASAP.
If you have any questions or need help with couples therapy, the workshop, or any other inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact me,
Wishing you a Happy, Warm, Beautiful, Safe, and Connected Holiday Season.
I am in gratitude to all of you