Manage overwhelm

Three strategies to use this season

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Maple enjoying the moment!
Maple enjoying the moment!

For many of us, stressors are off the chart this month. On top of the uncertainty, frustration, and exhaustion of our current times, we’re adding the seasonal stressors of the holidays, in some cases having to re-invent our holiday routines and traditions. How can you manage your stressors and not let them get the best of you?

Here are three tips to manage overwhelm:

  1. Reset your expectations. Since this holiday season is different in so many ways, embrace the difference! Traditions are lovely, but try not to get weighed down by them right now. Instead, focus on making the holidays festive and fun and easy on everyone. Think of this as an opportunity to shake up the holiday routine a little. Who knows, you may find yourself establishing a new tradition!
  2. Press the pause button and take a ‘pause breath’. Deep breathing, or abdominal breathing, lowers stress by increasing oxygen levels in the brain and bloodstream and clearing out carbon dioxide in the lungs. As you breathe, hold a hand over your belly. Watch it rise with every deep in-breath and fall with every extended out-breath.
  3. Practice good sleep hygiene. Without the six to nine hours of sleep most of us need, we become prone to irritability, depression, and anxiety. I often hear from my clients, “I don’t have time for the sleep I need; I have too much to do.” Try reframing that to, “Sleep is the best thing I can do for myself to be healthy, engaged, and productive.” One way to start is to limit the use of electronics an hour before bed. The blue spectrum of light from electronics blocks the release of melatonin, which puts you to sleep.

My favorite question to ask myself these days is, “How can I simplify to focus on what matters most?” Sometimes with all the stressors taking place, we need to remind ourselves that every day is filled with small moments of joy and we can celebrate them. What will you celebrate today?

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