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7 Strategies to Help Your Family Combat Holiday Stress

7 Strategies to Help Your Family Combat Holiday Stress

This is the time of the year when we should be having fun with our family and friends, but the truth is that the holidays can be very stressful for many of us. They present a series of demands that include shopping, entertaining, parties, and lots more. Because we tend to set high expectations for the holiday season, it is not surprising that most of us experience some holiday stress.

What causes holiday stress?

For many of us, most of our holiday stress results from interacting with our family. This might be caused by sad memories of past holiday seasons.  It might be caused by the changes that have occurred in the life of another family member, or by the changes that haven’t occurred in ours.  It might simply be caused by having to suffer through the same family gatherings, with the same people, and the same food.

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No matter what is causing your holiday stress, these 7 strategies can help you deal with your stress, and may even help make your family get-togethers fun again.

1. Acknowledge your feelings.

If you have lost a family member this year, the holidays can bring back feelings of sadness and loss.  Understand the fact that it’s okay to feel sad, and be willing to express your feelings to other family members. Sharing stories of the good times that you spent with a lost family member can help the whole family feel better.

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2. Set realistic expectations.

Speak to your children regarding holiday activities and their expectations for gifts. Holiday stress can be minimized by taking action to make sure everyone has the same goals and expectations for the holiday season. While you should never expect your family holidays to be perfect, you can minimize stress by making sure that the whole family has the same expectations.

3. Do something different.

If your normal family get-together is the source of your stress, try something different. If you’re overwhelmed with being the host, ask another family member to help out. You might even want to plan the family holiday dinner at a local restaurant instead of your home. Trying something new and different can reduce or eliminate your stress.

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4. Don’t expect miracles.

If your holiday stress comes from a history of family conflict, you shouldn’t expect any miracles during the holiday season. You probably will not see a huge break-through in ongoing conflicts, but you can focus on how you can react in positive ways when the conflict happens.

5. Just say no.

Saying yes when you know that you should be saying no can create feelings of resentment and overwhelm. Be honest with your friends and family, and help them to understand that you cannot participate in every event. If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t say no to a family event, look for other activities that you can remove from you schedule to minimize your stress.

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6. Set differences aside.

Accept your relatives for who they are, even if they don’t meet your expectations. Save grievances for a more suitable time, and be understanding if others get frustrated and angry. They are probably experiencing the effects of holiday stress too.

7. Prepare a budget.

Decide the amount you can afford to spend prior to food and gift shopping. Do not be forced to spend more than what you can afford. Follow your budget as much as possible and remember that happiness can never be bought with gifts.

I wish that I could help you to eliminate all of your holiday stress, but I can’t!  However, you can minimize it by employing these 7 proven strategies.

Featured photo credit: kakisky via cdn.morguefile.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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