Holiday Stress Can Be a Seasonal Thing

Holiday stress is a seasonal thing.

Tis’ the season to be merry. Well sometimes.

Even though the holidays are a joyous time of year, they can also be filled with all sorts of stress and anxiety.  How that manifests itself is just as varied as the number of holiday songs played on the radio.  Oddly enough, anxiety can be just as monotonous. How many renditions of Jingle Bells can there possibly be?

The Variations of Holiday Stress

It’s common to be experiencing the same type of stress each year, regardless of our personal development or situation.  Maybe it’s that family member that you just don’t quite get along with.  Or the dreaded conversation about politics or religion that inevitably occurs around the dinner table.  Maybe your stress is in the preparation of the holidays either around food, presents, church or social activities. Or perhaps it’s a reminder of a regret from the past that still nags at you.

Regardless of your variation of angst, the reason many have a love/hate relationship with the holidays is that it tends to repeat itself every year.

Breaking the Cycle

I’m not going to pretend that breaking the cycle is an easy task.  Some people’s anxiety about the holidays can have some very deep seeded thoughts that cannot be addressed in a newsletter greeting.  But allow me to offer a simple 3-step solution.


The first step is to be self-aware of your feelings. The stress you feel doesn’t begin in a vacuum.  It’s attached to a story you’ve told yourself over time.  The origin of that story may have gotten lost over the years, but the feelings still remain.  By stopping for a moment and recognizing your feelings, you begin the process of remembering the original story of those feelings, and therefore can begin rewriting that story for a different result.


The next step is to give yourself the permission to experience the feelings. Often times we’re so busy trying to squash the feelings, fighting the anxiety, that we lose sight that the feelings are there for a reason.  Those feelings are in place to act as a protection against a perceived danger.

Allow yourself to just feel the feelings without judgment.  Don’t try to rationalize them or dismiss them as unimportant.  Just allow yourself to have the feelings.

Change Your Brain

Lastly, allow yourself to breath.  Take a step aside and change your brain chemistry by doing Mindful Breathing.  Breath in for a count of 5 and breath out for a count of 7.  Repeat this process 6 to 7 times.  Mindful Breathing allows you to refocus on the present moment instead of getting caught up in all the things you’re telling yourself about the situation you’re in.  Try it. You’ll find it’s impossible to think about anything else except breathing.

This is obviously not a cure for anxiety.  But it is a good coping skill to have when the moment gets to be overwhelming.

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I’d love to hear what you think so please post your thoughts in the comment section.  If you have any questions, feel free to forward those to

Here’s hoping that your holiday is a stress-free as possible.  May you have a joyous season and a Happy New Year.  We’ll see you in 2018.

All the best,


Personal Nature of Stress

stress is personal

Stress is a personal experience. To overcome stress, the solution needs to be as equally personal.

In the previous posting, I introduced my new blog How is Stress Sabotaging Your Success to the world. I’d like to continue by talking about stress in general and a very simplistic way of handling it.

As unique as we are.

We all experience stress.  It’s the way of life in the 21st century. Whether it’s the line at Starbucks not moving fast enough, giving the big presentation in front of an important client, or not quite having enough funds to pay that one bill, we all experience stress.

Even though we talk about it in general terms, stress is very personal. Not only in the causes it, but how we physically react to it.  For example, a person growing up in a big family might not feel any anxiety to large, noisy environments with lots of people.  Whereas the only child, having grown up in a quiet environment, may have severe reaction when entering a noisy room with lots of activity.

Likewise, the physical manifestation is also unique. Some people experience that lump in the pit of their stomachs before giving a presentation in front of a large group of people.  Others may experience a tightness in their neck and shoulders before having a challenging conversation with a coworker or subordinate. There isn’t a “one size fits all” when it comes to the causes and effects of stress.

How to Overcome Stress

So when it comes to finding solutions, those have to be equally personal. The reason for this is that stress is really a variation on fear.  Either a fear of a future, unrealized result or of some past event. Either way, you are not focusing on the present moment. Once you focus on the present, the fear of a future result or a past event become irrelevant.

The next obvious question becomes, that’s fine but how do I do that?  How do I change my focus to be on the present moment?  That’s what this blog will be exploring over the coming months. I’ll be sharing material that speaks to a variety of stress related activities and suggest some solutions along the way.

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I’d love to hear what you think so please post your thoughts in the comment section.  If you have any questions, feel free to forward those to

Thank you for reading.