Making stressful holidays merry and bright

stressed holiday-penguinGet the tree. Shop. Make cookies. Put lights on the house. Mail the cards. Buy more presents. Lights on the house go out, get more lights, put them back up. Bake. Clean the house. Go to parties. Decorate. Entertain family. Get groceries. Visit friends. Buy more presents.

“Let’s just say it – the holidays can be a stressful time, very stressful,” said Judi Fischer, president of Lakeshore Educational & Counseling Services.

Fischer offered tips on how to deal with holiday stress and how to set goals and be optimistic for the new year during a “Holidays, Reflection and Optimism” seminar on campus this month as part of YSU’s Impact Solutions Employee Assistance and Work/Life Program.

As we face the holidays, here are some of Fischer’s tips to make them a little merrier:

  • Ask yourself – Do I really have to do all of what I think I have to do? “Why do I have to have all of these decorations? Why do I have to buy all of these presents? Why do I have to spend all of this money? Is it because I feel like I have to? Is it something that I am expected to do?”
  • Be pro-active, not reactive. Thinking through your holidays and making plans reduces stress.
  • Be internally motivated. Derive joy, satisfaction and contentment from within, rather than leaving it up to external forces. “We need to work harder on ourselves, to deal with stress and change, rather than trying to manipulate things that are out of our control,” she said.
  • Be mindful. Be aware of the present. Put attention on the task at hand. As for multi-tasking – “Sometimes it creates more confusion and more cluttered thinking. Sometimes we just need to slow down.”
  • Set goals for 2014 – personal, relational, recreational and other-centered goals. “Remember that any goal you set, it has to be something that you know you can accomplish, because success breeds success,” she said.
  • Set priorities in life. Manage your priorities, not your time.

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