Many people suffer from increased stress in the time leading up to Christmas. We worry about gifts, our busy social schedules, family visits and planning Christmas dinner. Here are a few stress management tips to help you effectively reduce stress during Advent!
What is stress?
Stress is defined as a condition or feeling that we cannot meet the demands placed on us using the resources that we have. In short, stress is a feeling of pressure and is what we experience when we feel like we are losing control.
Stress can result from unexpected situations, but the most damaging type of stress is chronic stress.
How to manage stress
There are lots of different ways to deal with stress - we just need to find which method works best for us!
First, be aware of your stressors. What are the things that cause stress in your life? To find out, keep a stress diary where you write down stress triggers. Which stressors have the biggest influence on you? Once you become aware of these triggers, it's easier to manage them.
This approach is all about physically doing something to change stressful situations. An example of this could be better time management. To-do lists and priority lists can help to reduce stress by helping you prioritise what really matters. This reduces the stress of not being able to do everything at once. Concentrating on one task at a time instead of multitasking can also reduce stress as it allows us to flow from one activity to another more productively.
This approach is helpful when stress stems from how you perceive a situation. This means being self-aware and taking note of what stresses you. An example could be stopping to recognise "the thought of cooking Christmas dinner stresses me out". This allows us to recognise where we might need help or support. Positive thinking also helps keep these thoughts from having too much influence on us.
This is the ability to accept the things that we can't change. The mall might be really crowded at Christmas, or we might be stuck in a traffic jam on our way to visit our families. In this case, there are external factors that are beyond our control. So instead of thinking about how late we will be or how crazy the mall is, we could take time to reflect on what we are looking forward to, and visual happy things.
There are lots of ways that stress sneaks into our lives, but finding ways to recognise our stressors helps us effectively avoid them or deal with them in a more positive way.