Counseling Services of Portland
                      Help for depression, anxiety and stress.    503-342-2510 call or text us

                      gethelp@counseling-pdx.com    Video about Counseling Services of Portland

Your Subtitle text

The Perfect Recipe for Creating Holiday Stress

Want to Reduce Holiday Stress?

by Suzie Wolfer LCSW

We’d all like to have the perfect holiday, just like those on TV. 

All we’d need is a production staff of 30 – 40 people behind the scenes.  If you’ve laid off your staff, maybe you’d like to consider a less stressful holiday season this year.

Or maybe you LIKE the rush you get from climbing Mt. Stress.  If you do, here’s your check list of how to really add more stress to your  life:

  • Put everyone else first
  • Go into debt to make others happy
  • Skips meals
  • Get by on 4 – 6 hours of sleep
  • Stop exercising
  • Spend every waking moment indoors or in a car
  • Have a drink to take the edge off

If you’d like a less stressful, more person-centered holiday read on.

Let Speed Work for You

We live in a world of increasing speed.  So instead of resisting speed, let it work for you.   First notice your style in pacing your life.  Which one best describes you?

The Tricyclist – imagine a toddler pedaling furiously, racing up and down the sidewalk. She’s using lots of effort and going nowhere, but doing it fast.  She’s by herself and she has no plan.

The Race Horse Rider – imagine a dazzling thoroughbred. She breaks out of the starting gate, races around the track, crosses the finish line sweaty and huffing.  She’s in a pack but all alone.  She has only one goal:  win the race and receive applause.  Race horses are hard to control and do one thing well – run.  That’s the plan.

The  BMW Driver – She sits calmly behind the wheel whether going 5 mph or 100.  She may be alone or with family and friends.  She might be listening to music, talking on her head set, but she’s calm, present and focused whatever speed she’s going.  She knows where she’s going and she knows what’s important.  She has a plan.

 

Purpose and the Use of Time

Every one of us has these three speeds.  What separates them is purpose and how they use time.   The BMW Driver organizes her time by what she values.  She has the key to letting speed work for her.

What do you value more than anything?  Are you driven by what other people think of you?  Then jump on your race horse now!  The applause is waiting.  Except when it’s not.

Perhaps you value peace of mind.  Why?   Because it allows you to be more loving, more present for friends and family.  It opens the door to creatively thinking.  It helps you plan instead of react.

Case Study

Nicole had some health problems that set her back for a few years.  She felt guilty that she couldn’t be the kind of mother and wife her family needed.  As she recovered, she was tempted to be super mom, mount her race horse and try to win the holiday race.  Instead, we talked about how to access her BMW Driver. 

She found her #1 Value: a feeling of connection she hoped would be a fond holiday memory rather than expensive gifts of the past.  She realized all the things could be discarded, but love and laughter would last in her family’s hearts forever.

Based on her #1 Value, Nicole made some simple rules for herself:

q      Plan her day by her values first, not what the list demanded. 

q      Multitask only if it helped her feel more productive AND more present.  She knew trying to carve herself up often led to clutter, chaos and confusion.

q      Spend money only if it contributed to a sense of connection with loved ones and would not create debt stress

q      Let go, delegate or outsource projects that kept her from living her #1 Value:   to create a sense of connection with others.

To climb into her BMW mind she practiced some easy tools

q      Micro Smile.  She’d let a tiny smile come to her lips and noticed a wave of well being flow into her body.

q      Breathe.  She did the 7-11 breath, 7 seconds in, 11 seconds out and pause.

q      She made a SoulCollage® card for her family and placed it remind her of her #1 Value

q      Used a special light for her SAD  (seasonal affective disorder)

Your Recipe for the Holidays

Perhaps you want to avoid Mt. Stress this year.  To create a memorable, enjoyable holiday, make use of your Value Compass. Let it chart your course as you sit behind the drivers wheel.  Let speed work for you.
 
If you'd like help reducing holiday stress, give us a call!  or Text us at

 
Call me 503-342-2510
Email me suzie@suziewolfer.com