Simplifying the Season: Avoid Holiday Stress With These 3 Easy Steps

November 22, 2023
4 mins read

By Stephanie Puente, Certified Life Mastery Coach

The holiday season is a time for warmth, love, and being with those we care about. However, it often brings an unwelcome guest: stress. 

The pressure to create the picture-perfect holiday experience, coupled with external factors like travel delays and inclement weather, can take a toll on your well-being. And as our calendars fill up and our to-do lists grow longer — our stress levels can tend to rise. The pressure often leaves us feeling overwhelmed and anything but jolly. 

But what if there was a way to approach this time of year with a different perspective? One that allows you to enjoy the holidays without adding more tasks to your already busy schedule? 

Designing Your Ideal Holiday Experience: A Stress-Free Approach

While you can’t change external circumstances like travel delays or the weather — you can change your relationship to the things in your life that can cause stress. 

The first step involves acknowledging that we are always creating results in our lives, whether we’re aware of it or not. By this, I mean letting circumstances, external pressures, and old habits determine our experience. To reduce holiday stress, it is essential to take charge of our mindset and actions and ensure that they are in harmony with the results we desire.

By having a clear vision of what we would love to experience, we can learn to create our results by design and navigate the holidays from a more empowered place — regardless of what’s going on around us.

Here are three easy steps that can help you shift your perspective and avoid holiday stress — so you can enjoy the season in a whole new way:

  1. Connect with Your Vision

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine the holidays have come and gone. It’s January 15, 2024 and you’re looking back on the last couple of months of 2023. 

Bring your ideal holiday vision to your mind. What would you love to have experienced during this time? Who were you with? Where did you go? How did it feel? Answer these questions as if it already happened using a statement like, “I am so happy and grateful now that…” and complete it with your vision for the season. 

Think of this as your destination on a road trip. Asking yourself these questions is like the GPS guiding you on the best route and setting your desired endpoint. 

When you’re experiencing stressful moments in real-time — bringing your ideal holiday vision to mind and asking yourself: “What can I think, do or say in this moment that will move me closer to my ideal holiday experience?” is like the GPS recalculating the route to help you stay on course.

“You must have some vision for your life. Even if you don’t know the plan, you have to have a direction in which you choose to go… You want to be in the driver’s seat of your own life because if you are not, life will drive you.” – Oprah Winfrey

  • Notice Your Focus 

Pay close attention to your thoughts, what you’re focusing on, and what your intentions are. Are you concentrating on life-giving, expansive thoughts, or are you drowning in stress-inducing worries? Are your thoughts leading you toward what you want, or are they taking you away from your vision? 

Your thoughts reflect what you’re giving your attention to. In other words, your thoughts create your reality. Use the reticular activating system in your brain to your advantage by focusing on your intentions to think and act as the person who is having the kind of holiday experience you’d love to have. 

Choose an empowered statement as a reminder to help you be a match with your holiday vision. For example: “I’m in control of my holiday experience. I choose peace and joy in this moment.” or “I let go of the pressure to please everyone and focus on creating meaningful moments with my family and friends.” This empowers your thinking and redirects your focus — without setting aside extra time.        

“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” – George Lucas

  • Shift Your Breathing

Your breath is a powerful tool for shifting from an anxious state to one of calm. Each breath helps you transition from a reactive place to a responsive one, allowing you to choose a more empowered thought. 

When stress begins to creep in, try box breathing or this simple exercise: 

Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of four, allowing your belly to expand. Hold your breath for four counts, and then exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of four. Visualize the stress leaving your body with every exhale and feel a sense of peace and ease flowing within you.

“Conscious breathing heightens awareness and deepens relaxation.” – Dan Brule

These exercises can be done anywhere at any time — whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed or just need a little break. And when you’re feeling more calm, peaceful, and centered, it is easier to draw to you an idea for an empowered step to take to serve your vision now.

As the year ends…

This holiday season, less is more. These simple but powerful steps can help you release old patterns that create stress during the holidays. And a fresh perspective and a few simple techniques might be all you need to enjoy them without anyadded pressure. 

“The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.” – Paulo Coelho

Remember, you have the power to design your own experience. So, this year, choose to create a more stress-free and joyful holiday season. 

You deserve it. 

Follow Stephanie on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or visit her website to learn more about how to work together to create a more stress-free and joyful holiday experience.

The Gentleman Racer by Michael Satterfield

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