Emotions triggered by the holidays can weigh on you like the several thousand pound ball that drops in Times Square every New Year’s Eve. While some traditions like the ball drop are worth repeating year after year, an annual habit of wallowing in negative emotions should be tossed-out like the shrimp party platter left out on the counter overnight!
Don’t beat yourself up for feeling blue. Instead realize that emotional balance is not a static thing. It is active work. If you feel off kilter this holiday season, there are a few things to try that might right your sled.
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When Holiday Stress is Frightful, Emotional Balance is Delightful
Lean on others when seasonal stress tries to knock you down.
Draw on positive relationships with co-workers, family or friends. You don’t have to party hard or win a popularity contest to reap the balancing benefits of being social. Indeed, sometimes parties and gatherings can cause stress and anxiety.. If that’s the case, consider volunteering or scheduling yourself to work during the holidays. Feeling useful to others can elevate your mood and boost your self-esteem. Be the hero at the vet’s office who saves someone’s family dog from one to many candy canes or the superhero at the grocery store who finds the last bag of frozen broccoli in the back. You have the power to be someone’s Santa Claus! It helps to help.
Say thank you…very much!
While social support often provides balance, it’s true that people in various contexts can also be the source of stress. But, even in situations when you’re serving tough clients at work, dealing with grinchy co-workers, helping out a stranger in need or trying to mend a fence in a family squabble it helps to say “thank you” (silently or audibly). Huh? Yep, you read that right. While it might be difficult to express gratitude to a person who is red in the face and bellowing at you, the act of accepting the interaction as a chance to better yourself will help you find a reason to express gratitude which can actually ease your stress. Carry that concept a bit further and write down several things for which you are grateful on a daily basis to help you maintain emotional balance.
Move it instead of losing it!
Exercise provides mood boosting physiological effects and will give you time to recenter, focus and figure out how to respond in order to regain your emotional balance. Exercise releases serotonin which is a natural mood elevator. Getting adequate exercise also helps some people sleep better which can help balance daytime moods.
The other benefit to moving your body is just that…you can literally move away from seasonal situations that might have you emotionally skating on thin ice. Whether you take a walk to refresh or soak in positive vibes at the gym, physically moving can help you find equilibrium so you can snuggle up in your happy holiday place!