“Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace.”
– Joan Borysenko

Are you feeling stressed out and overwhelmed? 

holiday stress

From conversations I’m having with clients, colleagues, family and friends, there seems to be a lot of people experiencing stress and overwhelm these days.  Between what’s going on in the world and the inevitable turmoil that plays out in our individual internal and external personal lives, many people are not feeling as productive, peaceful and empowered as they’d like to be. 

I recently created a quiz, How Empowered Are You? (please feel free to take it!) to help clients and members of my UPROOT curriculum programs and retreats assess where they’re at in their lives and uncover where and how thinking and acting in certain ways are not serving the best self—leading to what I tend to call feeling “stressed, depressed and underexpressed.” 

On top of already feeling overwhelmed, we are rapidly moving into the holiday season, which nearly always comes with increased holiday stress. As much connection and joy that this season can bring, all the busyness, planning, parties, shopping, issues with time and interruptions to normal routine, as well attempting to navigate challenging relationships and dynamics with family members, can no doubt add to an already full plate. Not to mention the toll that holiday stress and more on our to-do lists take on the little time that most of us allot for self-care. 

Navigating situational and holiday stress can be tough to do, but there are ways to minimize the impact that this season of lights has on our mental, physical, emotional, spiritual and relational health. 

Managing Holiday Stress 

In her verywellmind article, Managing the Seemingly Inevitable Holiday Season Stress, author Elizabeth Scott, PhD, who focuses on stress management, positive psychology,  relationships and emotional wellbeing, offers some tips to help navigate this holiday season with increased ease so you can mitigate stress and experience more joy and peace. 

As Dr. Scott mentions in her article, “While this season is meant to bring feelings of love and cheer, it’s also the harbinger of holiday stress for many. In fact, according to a poll conducted on this site, more than 80% of us find the holiday season to be ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ stressful—that ranks navigating the holidays right up there with asking for a raise!”

Mainly, Dr. Scott points out that during this season most of us are trying to do too much; eating, drinking and spending too much; having too much togetherness; not having enough togetherness; and experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

To manage holiday stress, Dr. Scott—noting that holiday stress is generally predictable—explains the importance of making a plan and taking certain actions to reduce the amount of stress we experience. Check out her useful insights and tips here

Mindfully Mitigating Seasonal Stress  

While the holidays tend to be a season when we particularly focus on other people, during high stress times it’s imperative to make time for self-care and to focus on you. Carving out ‘me time’ looks different for everyone, but it’s important to remember that when we feel depleted and our proverbial cup is empty, we’re less able to give from our hearts and fully show up for those things that are important to us and for the people we love.

We can make more time for ourselves by adhering to all or some of Dr. Scott’s suggestions. Personally, I’m planning to pick a few holiday activities that I know I’ll really enjoy and skip the rest. I’m going to be thoughtful about not trying to do everything. I’m going to bake for just a few friends and neighbors and rather than send holiday cards to everyone in my contacts, I’m going to focus on those people who are really important in my life. Also, in being mindful of “overdoing,” I’m planning to practice mindful moderation, especially when it comes to overindulging in eating, drinking, shopping/spending and taking on too many responsibilities. 

And, I’m going to set realistic outcomes for the season—both for myself and in relationships with others. The holidays can be a magical time, and we all have the expectation of the perfect day, meal or family gathering.  That said, it’s important that we be aware of our limitations in order to avoid burnout and the added holiday stress that comes with feeling like we’re always in the fire rather than enjoying its warmth. Limiting the number of family and social gatherings we’ll attend helps us stay grounded and offers us the time to make much needed self-care a priority. 

The Peace Is In The Pause 

I’m also going to give myself permission to pause when I feel myself getting triggered and my nervous system becoming dysregulated. 

As I recently posted on social media:

Practice the pause.

When in doubt, pause. 

When angry, pause.

When tired, pause. 

When stressed, pause. 

And, when you pause, PRAY. 

Pausing gives us time and space to reflect so we can respond, rather than knee-jerk react, to all that is going on within both our internal and external landscapes. When we pause, we tend to make more informed decisions. We tend to feel better about those decisions and our interactions with Self and loved ones. And, we tend to lead from the heart and come from a place of love—for both ourselves and others—in how we respond to stress. 

And through prayer, meditation or both—whatever feels best for you—we can ask for guidance, practice deep listening, and strengthen our connection to Source and innate intuition. When we thoughtfully give ourselves permission to be in the present moment, we’re more able to connect with our needs, hearts and desires. And then we can show up with a greater capacity to care for the things and people we truly love and light us up so we can spread more joy into the season. 

Start The New Year Feeling Focused, Empowered And Connected 

Holiday stress is generally situational stress. However, the feelings of stress, depression and overwhelm can be felt year round.  

What if you had the tools you need to minimize stress and better manage your emotions?  

What if you could truly and mindfully feel what you’re feeling without getting overwhelmed?  

What if you could start the new year learning new skills and techniques in a safe, supportive space with other high functioning female professionals?

 Through my beloved 15-week, weekly UPROOT curriculum, I help like-minded individuals uplevel their inner game so we’re all better equipped to deal with all the inevitable craziness, as well as effective tools, practices and insights to uproot what isn’t working in life. With the new year just around the corner, the time is ripe to identify, explore and work through stressors, limiting beliefs and old stories, while simultaneously moving into a more thoughtful, productive and empowered way of showing up for yourself, your family, your work and your community. 

A Transformative Shift In Awareness

UPROOT is designed to help awaken the spark of divinity that is within each and every one of us. It stems from the hope that, at this tipping point, we all wake up to Divine nature and learn to live in love and peace in a collaborative and supportive way.

I invite you to take the Empowerment Quiz and join the 2023 kick-off-the-new-year online UPROOT curriculum, which begins Jan 11, 2023 to start growing the future you desire. Let’s make 2023 your most peaceful and powerful year yet! 

I hope that the tips, insights and pausing technique offered above gives you some much needed peace and increased joy during this upcoming holiday season. 

Sending prayers for peace and big love,

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“Let There Be Peace on Earth and Let it Begin With Me”
-Ricky Dillard