It’s here, the stress of the holidays. Of course, Thanksgiving and Hanukah are only a week away, but all of my clients, friends, family members, and random strangers are talking about feeling the stress of the holidays clearly upon them. It’s compounded by the fact that everyone else is feeling stressed, too. It happens every year about this time, and you might think that we know how to handle this, but it usually comes as a surprise all over again each time around. And if you’re anything like me and most of the people I know, a little bit of added stress can really throw off your day. A medium amount of added stress (like now) can really make your life difficult for the short-term foreseeable future (until sometime mid-January, maybe).

I admit that I do try to reduce my stress at this time of year by turning off as many advertisements as I can (though they tend to creep in, anyway), taking time off  to get a massage or just do things for me, and limiting the number of things I commit to doing in a day or a weekend. But I still feel that headache just at the base of my skull and the weight on my shoulders and the nagging feeling that I really should have done more shopping/cooking/cleaning before now because I may not have time for everything I’ve set out to do. And, honestly, I’d like the people around me to think I have it all figured out, that I’m good, that I have it all together. I may be experiencing less stress than some, but I really can’t claim to be on top of it.

So, what to do? The first step, as in anything, is to notice the stress that you’re under. Once you do this, you have the opportunity to see what is causing the most trouble and to find ways to mitigate it or let it go. You’re being pressured to be the chair person for the company holiday party? Figure out what you can delegate or leave undone – it’s never going to be perfect, and there’s only so much you can control. You’re hosting a dinner party for 23 of your closest family members?   Set some limits on what food issues you can accommodate and invite others to bring food options that work for them. You have to buy gifts for everyone at the office? Ask about starting a Secret Santa or spending limit that works for you.

And, finally, if you’re local to the Denver metro area, Mantis Counseling and Coaching services is co-hosting a workshop on holiday stress called “Making it Through the Holidays With Your Sanity Intact” on Sunday, December 8 from 10:30 a.m. to noon, and we’d love for you to join us in talking about how to manage this holiday stress. Call 720-394-1437 for more information.