12 Tips for a Stress-free Christmas
Tools and techniques we use at Natural Talent in our Coaching and Training Programmes to build resilience are even more relevant at this time of year. So many individuals, in particular women, are currently getting in to almost panic mode about their Christmas preparations. Many feel under immense pressure to provide the perfect family Christmas as portrayed by most of the supermarket adverts, often forgetting that not everyone has the ‘perfect’ family and that plans certainly don’t always go to plan!
One of our female CEOs in the US uses these 12 Tips to manage Stress in and outside work:
1. Work backwards from Christmas Day or your big family gathering and create a ‘To Do’ list with priorities, names and dates against each task
Ask yourself: What exactly needs doing, when things need to be done by, who can help out and how?
2. Stay Positive
Positive thoughts help make stress intermittent by focusing your brain’s attention onto something that is completely stress-free.
3. Take a break from Technology
Even if you are shopping online or sending e-cards, if you take a 10 minute break every hour you’ll be more productive.
4. Cut down on Coffee
Even if you are trying to counter the late nights from partying or shopping, drinking caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline which is the source of the ‘fight-or-flight’ response. When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyper-aroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior and gives you a tendency to over-dramatise the deadlines or perceived crises.
When it feels like something always or never happens or always goes wrong, this is just your brain’s natural threat tendency inflating the perceived frequency or severity of an event.
6. See the Wood for the Trees
Stress and worry are fuelled by our own skewed perception of events. It’s easy to think that unrealistic deadlines, unforgiving bosses, and out-of-control traffic are the reasons we’re so stressed all the time.
7. Stop, breathe slowly, think, then act
Racing around will only mean that by the time the holidays come you’re too exhausted to enjoy your time off!
To be calm and productive, you need to recognize your weaknesses and ask for help when you need it. Asking for help will mitigate your stress and strengthen your relationships with those you rely on.
9. Spend 10 minutes every day doing absolutely nothing.
Just finding that spare time to yourself without your phone, laptop, radio or TV will make you feel much calmer and more energised.
10. Plan for crises
Chances are the traffic will be bad, the turkey might take much longer to cook than you thought, so build in extra time and have a Plan B.
11. Ask yourself ‘What’s the worst thing that could happen?’ And ‘What if it did?’
Chances are no one will care if there aren’t enough sprouts; but they will remember if the host or hostess is so stressed out that he or she loses their temper and shouts at their family and/or guests!
12. Lastly and most importantly, remember the words of Dr Richard Carlson: ‘90% of what you worry about doesn’t happen. You can’t do anything about the other 10%.’
Have a Merry Christmas and healthy, prosperous and stress-free 2015!