You don’t need anyone to tell you the holidays can be stressful. Extra expectations, parties and tasks can be stressful, too.

Becky Reid

Reid

Sarah Diamond from Kansas State University’s School of Family Studies and Human Services summarizes a few mindfulness strategies that can help to reduce stress and allow you to experience a calmer holiday season:

  • Practice active listening. It can be easy to “tune out” during all the holiday hustle and bustle. By minimizing distractions, you might be surprised how much more you observe and hear, which can be very rewarding.
  • Be open to the emotions of others. Consider the feelings of others around you during the holiday season. You can increase your ability to connect by being observant and receptive to them.
  • Be open to a range of emotions in yourself. Unfortunately, the holiday season can trigger a mixture of emotions that are not always joyful. Consider allowing yourself space and recognize these feelings you might experience, instead of seeking to lose them.
  • Let go of old habits or patterns that might hold you back. There are many traditions and memories that the holidays bring. However, sometimes old patterns can disseminate negativity. Be mindful of patterns that are bothersome. Allow yourself to be open to new experiences.
  • Expand how you communicate care. Many cultures practice gift-giving during the holidays. But there are many additional ways to show you care. Before making a purchase, consider asking yourself what you are trying to communicate through the gift. There might be alternative ways to express your feelings or care, such as spending quality time with or doing something nice for the person.
  • Let go of judgment — both for yourself and others. Try to avoid conflict with others during the holiday season. This can lead to judgment and self-esteem issues. Take a step back and enjoy even the little things.
  • Balance “shoulds” with awareness of your own needs and practice self-compassion. Although the holidays can bring many obligations, try to make time for yourself to avoid burnout and bitterness. Engage in fun and relaxing activities. When you do this, you might discover you will be more giving to others.

For more healthy behavior strategies, plan to attend the “Keys to Embrace Aging” class series at 11 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at the Winfield Public Library, 605 College St.

Call K-State Research and Extension Cowley County at (620) 221-5450 for more information.

Sources: Sarah Diamond, Extension Program Coordinator, and www.psychologytoday.com

This information was provided by K-State Research and Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Specialist Becky Reid.