Expert Tips on How to Handle Stress During the Holiday Season

Practicing these habits can help keep stress at bay and make the holidays a truly joyful time
Staff Writer

Ram Dass said “If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.”

Holidays and family are often the perfect storm for evoking all kinds of stress, anger and emotional triggers especially for those working on their sobriety. It all starts with Halloween and wraps up around January 2.

The excessive amounts of liquor and food, coupled with stress can be a real problem if not handled correctly.

The holidays can make people feel pressure to be happy and festive as if we were receiving an order that on this set day and time we must be ecstatic and joyful. Life just doesn’t work that way.

Darcy Sweeney, M.S. who specializes in helping others live extraordinary lives and battle issues like addiction, is sharing three key things to keep in mind to make the holidays a truly joyful time.

1. Practice radical self-care.
For many, the concept of self-care is a truly radical one. It is however, the most important thing you can ever do.

The reality is that no-one can take better care of you than you, but many of us do anything but that. We are busy tending to other people’s interests and priorities while we allow our needs and desires to go unmet. Why do we do this!? I believe a great deal of it has to do with programming.  We must tend to our own needs first. As you head into the holiday season, it is important that you recognize and tend to your own needs (and yes, desires) and in doing so you will find that you then have much more to give. When you don’t follow this principle you’ll find yourself grumpy or resentful, and for good reason.

2. Make a conscious choice to be present.
When you connect with your relatives this holiday season be right there with them. Really listen, really hear what they are saying. Notice how it feels to be surrounded by the sights of the holidays. Notice the children’s laughter or the sound of the crackling fire. There are wonderful things happening in the moment and all we have to do to access it is to slow down our lives and allow ourselves to fully experience the moment and all it has to offer. You may be surprised at how good you feel with this subtle but profound shift in consciousness.

3. Focus on appreciating others, no matter what other people are doing.
When we are kind, helpful or supportive it not only makes others feel good, but you will notice quite a personal benefit from this as well. It feels good! Think about this as if you were bringing a gift to a friend or family member, because you are. Well, you have the power to bring this joy to someone at any time. Try this with your relatives as you can always think of at least one thing to appreciate about them. As long as you are being sincere, this is a tool you can use at any holiday gathering to lift the mood for others and not least of which, for yourself.

There is no doubt that the holidays can be stressful. However, even the smallest strides focused upon love and self-care will have a profound difference in your experience of the holidays, regardless of what drama may be happening around you. You deserve to feel good and enjoy yourself, and it all starts with self-care.

About Darcy Sweeney, M.S. 
Darcy Sweeney has battled addiction since her early teens. After years of fighting the battle, trough 19 treatment centers, she found herself. She found that her life’s work is to help people who are also caught in a similar battle. She established Life Design Mastery to empower those struggling with addictions to find the champion within themselves and learn to create the extraordinary life they would love to live. To learn more about Darcy click here. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

More Reading:
8 Yoga Poses for Reducing and Relieving Holiday Stress
Remember This: One Great Reason to Exercise Over the Holidays
Stay Fit for the Holidays: Tips for a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season

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