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Holidays are supposed to be a time for joy and celebration. But for many people, the holidays can also be stressful and anxiety-inducing. The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to manage your holiday stress and anxiety, so it doesn't prevent you from enjoying yourself with family and friends!
1. Keep Your Regular Routine
Holiday stress can take over your life pretty easily, and if you're not careful, it can send you into an anxiety spin as we set aside all the good habits and things we know are good for us, while making time for the increased work and social commitments.
Don't let the “busy” of the holidays season send you off-course though, your habits are what will keep you GROUNDED in the chaos. Keep up with your regular routine as much as possible.
If you're used to going for a walk or exercising a few times a week, find a way to protect that “you time” at all costs. We always have to say no to something, don’t let it be the things you fill your energy cup with.
And if you want to know how to stay feeling calm and more relaxed - on Christmas morning while everyone else sleeps in, get up early and go for a walk or run outside to clear your mind before the big day!
2. Practice Self-Care
When it comes to self-care, there's no one size fits all approach. Be kind to yourself and listen to your body. If your calendar looks manic with events, block at least 1 or 2 nights at home with NO plans so you can pre-plan some downtime (you’ll thank me for it later!).
Take time for yourself, eat well, and prioritise getting enough sleep—these things will help you feel more rested and energised during these hectic weeks leading up to end of year.
Self-care is also being aware of mentally what you are consuming. If you find yourself staying up late watching TV to “zone out” just do yourself a favour and GO TO BED. Sleep is so much better for you than Netflix.
Or if scrolling social media seeing everyone else’s perfectly curated Christmas tree’s and happy family snaps is making you anxious (or just plain sad and overwhelmed), consider taking a break socials.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to hit the finish line well rested and some mental capacity to enjoy the festivities?
3. Make a Plan and Stay Flexible
If you are a natural planner and organiser that’s great, my suggestion then is to stay flexible. Rigid black and white thinking and “only one way to do this” mentality has caused many a family argument during the holidays.
If you can be flexible in your approach to everything, then you will be less likely to get stressed out by the things that come up.
Aunty Janice could be right, she could well have the stuffing recipe out there – it doesn’t mean yours is any less - you of course could be right too. There are always multiple ways of doing a single thing.
The person with the most flexibility in this situation is going to be the master of their own emotions and have the most fun. Who wants to be held back in judgement about something a simple as a stuffing recipe?! Not me. Janice – do your thing.
4. Don't Be Afraid to Say "No"
You probably like to get involved in everything; you may even have FOMO at times when you don’t have a finger in every pie. But setting healthy boundaries for your time is VERY important at this time of year.
We do not want to take any held resentments into the new year! So, don't let others pressure you into doing things you don't want to do. It is not your job to be everywhere at once and make everyone happy. Saying no is necessary and healthy!
If you're feeling overwhelmed by all the holiday activities on your plate, then ask for help or simply decline an invitation altogether. It's okay, people can respect your decisions just as much as they expect others will respect theirs.
5. Delegate Like a Boss
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, then it’s time to delegate. You do not have to do it all. Remember the saying “Many hands make light work”. People also actually like to help and feel needed, so delegate. Get everyone involved so you don’t feel overburdened by the work that needs to get done.
Everyone knows you can do it all, but you may kill every last bit of energy you have in the process!
6. Let it Be
If you find yourself stuck worrying and pre-empting about all the WHAT IFs of Christmas Day or holiday parties - who’s coming, whether everyone will get along, who will drink to much, or say too much, or start a difficult conversation. This thought process will only ever bring you stress and anxiety, as you cannot control the outcomes of other people.
Let it be. What is going to happen will happen, no matter whether you spend 25 days worrying about what will happen.
Instead, perhaps think about why you are spending time with the people who are important to you and what the highlights of this holiday season are going to be.
And make a game plan, if something does go pear shaped at any event you can take some time out for yourself—go for a walk or listen to some music to regroup.
7. Focus on Gratitude
One of the most effective ways to manage holiday anxiety is to focus on gratitude. By being grateful for what you already have, it helps your mind stay in the present moment instead of way out to far in the future stuck on worry.
You will start feeling less stressed about things that don't matter. Gratitude helps you appreciate the good things in your life, so it's a great way of getting into a more positive mindset.
Once you make it a habit, it'll become second nature and help you feel less stressed through any situation—even if something stressful does happen!
8. Know the Things You Can Control
You can control your energy level, how much sleep you get, what you are eating and drinking, your mindset, your time and your own personal happiness.
You cannot control anyone else, and you are also not 100% responsible for everyone else’s happiness.
When things seem out of control, reassess and reassure yourself that you are doing your best and that this is enough. If it turns out that something did not go perfectly, then accept it and release it!
9. Remember to Have Fun
Let the stress go and remember the holidays are for you to have fun too. Everything will get done that needs to get done. Connect, be present in the little moments and enjoy it. You deserve it, its been a big few years. What is it all for, if it’s not for having fun with the people we love?
10. Ask for Help
Finally, don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. If it’s not fun and everything is too much then please know you don’t have to go through this stress alone. Reach out to a friend, a family member or a professional for support. You deserve much love, peace and joy this time of year :)
Wishing you all the best
About the Author: Janel Briggs is a NLP and Timeline Therapy Practitioner on a mission to support women across Australia and Singapore in healing their professional anxieties, insecurities and imposter syndrome to build unwavering confidence and self-belief. The goal is to level up your life and career by learning how to to live fearless and anxiety free! Connect with Janel on social media via Linkedin or Instagram.
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With December here, work, family and friend get togethers are back on.
We’re eating out again, attending parties, and even going shopping in real stores.
December is always a busy time of year, and 2021 perhaps more so given that many of us spent weeks in lockdowns and can’t wait to see people in real life (not that we didn’t love those zoom meetings…).
But between year-end festivities and summer holidays, we’re also finalising presents, tying up loose ends, finishing projects, and probably planning for 2022 as well.
And the worst part? All this busyness and hustle and go-go-go is (dare I say it), “normal” and often even glorified.
So, if you’re like most women I know and coach, the busyness and hustle you normally feel is likely really, really ramping up this year.
Now to be honest, “hustle” is not one of my favourite words, but (unfortunately) it describes what most women can relate to.
One definition of hustle is to “proceed or work rapidly or energetically”. This almost sounds like a good thing doesn’t it? And perhaps that’s why many have come to see it that way, but is it?
Never before has any other generation lived as fast a paced lifestyle where being “busy” and “hustling” are actually promoted, accepted, and rewarded.
I see part of the issue is that we can get almost anything we want on demand through our phones, tablets, and laptops.
Whatever we want to know, learn, plan, or look up is at our fingertips 24/7. Podcasts, YouTube, social media, news outlets, magazines, and almost every book ever written is all there with us. And let’s not forget the text messages, phone calls, voice messages, and emails.
When does it stop?
When do we turn off, unplug, or tap out from the noise and give ourselves a break?
In fact, you’ve probably been going so hard that you hardly take the time to move, nourish, enjoy, and rest the entire day.
Why? Because there’s SO MUCH TO DO!
And we’re being validated for this by society, our colleagues, our bosses, and even sometimes our friends and family.
This busyness and hustle have almost become badges of honour.
Where productivity, busyness, and hustle equal feeling and being valued.
There’s a quote I love by author Michael Gunger that says, “Burnout is literally what happens when you avoid being human for too long.”, and if we’re busy, hustling, pushing, striving, and going ALL THE TIME, then it’s almost inevitable that burnout will come.
Now don’t get me wrong, part of this drive is because we want to be the BEST version of ourselves.
We want to improve, challenge ourselves, and keep learning and growing.
And I love that and get it. I’m a personal development junkie!
We want to achieve success and have an incredible career where we feel fulfilled, create impact, are valued, and feel motivated to reach our goals and dreams.
We want to have an abundance of time for ourselves and our families.
For the projects, sports and hobbies we enjoy.
We also want loving relationships and deep soulful friendships, which is amazing.
And while I’m a firm believer that you can do absolutely ANYTHING, and that you CAN achieve it ALL, the reality is that you just can’t do EVERYTHING all at once. The more you hustle for these things the further away they’re likely to get.
So this year, let’s stop.
Stop being so “busy”.
Stop the relentless “hustle”.
Let’s take the time to stop, pause, and say no, or maybe, or not now, or some other time.
Prioritise your time, energy, health and wellbeing.
Slow down and take stock.
Fill your own cup first.
Plan for breaks, holidays, good times, and summer vibes.
Stop carrying your phone everywhere, and most importantly, stop constantly checking it.
Put auto-respond on your emails.
Set you calendar, availability, and voicemail to away.
Shut down the tabs, the browsers, the documents, and the spreadsheets.
And if you do have to do work, slow it down.
Take advantage of most people being on holidays.
Cancel your regularly scheduled meetings and avoid making new ones.
Keep your calendar clear so you can focus on “big picture” work of reflecting on the year and planning for the next.
While hustle might be the “norm” for most, it doesn’t have to be.
We can change it.
I want you to thrive, not merely survive.
I want you to feel confident and comfortable, stress and anxiety free (or at least reduced!).
I want you to feel in control of your mindset, goals, and what’s coming up next.
To help you with this, be sure to subscribe to my blog above, and check out my 1:1 coaching programs, 2022 intake begins in early January.
I’m here to help and here to remind you that perhaps the holidays are the perfect time to stop the hustle and truly enjoy the season.
Wishing you a happy and hustle-free holidays!
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At any given day, I bet you’re juggling 10 or more things at once. You’re thinking about work, home life, pets, children, friendships, family, and more.
Then December comes along and BANG, now you’re juggling all of the above PLUS present buying, holiday planning, catch ups, work celebrations, year end reflections, new year planning, etc…
With all of this added pressure (from ourselves and society), we may feel like multi-tasking is not just the best way to handle things, it’s also the only way.
Well, I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but it’s not.
While a small percentage of the population (2% according to Forbes magazine in 2017) are good at multi-tasking, for the rest of us, constantly switching between tasks and attempting to multi-task actually decreases our productivity by up to 40%.
See when we’re multi-tasking, while it may feel like we’re working faster and efficiently, we’re actually more likely just spinning our wheels, never really moving forward. We’re producing less than stellar decisions, outputs, and work. We forget what we were doing, where we’re at, and sometimes if we’ve even finished the tasks we’re trying to work through!
We’ve got tabs open on our laptops.
Links saved in our browsers.
Lists all over the place.
Scraps of paper with random notes on them.
We’re also less able to filter out irrelevant information and decrease distractions, meaning we often make mistakes which means going back and redoing the work we thought we’d completed.
In addition to this, multi-tasking also leads to:
Are you getting a clearer picture of why multi-tasking really isn’t ideal?
Now I know it might sound like the complete opposite of what you want to do, but introducing even a few of the suggestions below will go a long way in decreasing your multi-tasking habits and increase your productivity and the quality of everything you do.
1. Focus on one thing at a time.
If you’re finishing up a report, focus on the report. Don’t click on browsers to figure out what time the shopping centres close so you can stop in after work.
2. Be present with whatever task you’re doing…
How can you possibly write a heartfelt Christmas card when your mind is thinking about the email you need to send to your supervisor? Write the card.
3. …. and THEN move on to the next one
With the card written and tucked in its envelope, now you can write up that email and give it your full attention.
4. Commit to “Do Not Disturb” time
It’s hard to ignore all the notifications popping up all day, so let your device do it for you. Either pause, turn off, or set your “Do Not Disturb” so you can really concentrate.
5. Create time blocks
Whether these are in 20minute windows or more or less, set your alarm or timer so you can stick to the task at hand (rather than bouncing from task to task) knowing that your next time block will be focussed on that task.
6. Shift your “big projects” to earlier in the day.
Most people work best in the mornings before decision fatigue and interruptions have kicked in, so carve out this time (by using Do Not Disturb and time blocks) to work on those bigger projects.
Here are three more important ways to reduce multi-tasking are to simplify our decision making so we don’t end up with decision fatigue.
For myself and my clients, I find the tips and tricks above go a long way in decreasing our multi-tasking and decision fatigue.
I want to enjoy this time of year, and want you to do the same, so let’s choose even one of the suggestions above and really commit to it.
Let’s stop multi-tasking and focus on the task at hand.
As always, I’m here to help with these and other ways to get you thriving, so be sure to subscribe to my blog above, and if you’re really keen, book in a here so we can see which of my coaching for programs might be best serve you.