3 Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

12/20/2017 01:07 pm ET

by Jennifer Shannon, LMFT, author of Don’t Feed the Monkey Mind

Yesterday in the gym I heard two women talking in the locker room. One of them said, “Well, I got almost all my shopping for Christmas done, thank God!” In response, the other one groaned, “I’ve barely started and I’m dreading it.”

As a psychotherapist, I hear people speak of being overwhelmed and over-obligated all year round, but during the holiday season it becomes a chorus. And as a human being with a perfectionist temperament, I’m not immune either. Before we know it, we are all marching in step to the twelve drummers drumming, eyeing our to-do’s. OK, I’ve got the partridge, now I need a pear tree!

The holidays are intended to be a time to reflect on and celebrate what is truly important to us. Friends, family, community, the turning of the season. But reflection only happens when we’re standing still, and this time of year we don’t even slow down. After all, celebrations take preparation!

We can’t enjoy shopping, traveling, cooking and socializing when we simply squeeze them onto our normal busy schedules. Piling on more obligation only fosters overwhelm and stress. To make time and energy available for the special to-do’s of the holidays, we need to have realistic expectations of ourselves. The monkey mindset that we can, and should, do more will keep us running on fumes even when the gas tank is empty.

So how can we reduce the burden we place on ourselves? To help my clients manage their time better I recommend three basic time-management tools. In this video I share them with you.

Jennifer Shannon, LMFT author of Don’t Feed The Monkey Mind

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