Why do the holidays become stressful? Often the answer to that question is that we get tied up in all of the “to do”s and “by when”s that are implied in getting everything done. The holidays are for people, not the other way around. Let's look at an acronym that can help us better handle holiday stress:

B – Breathe – Take a moment to get perspective on what the holidays are all about. In addition to that, actually focusing for a moment on your breathing can help to move your brain from the protective fight or flight response into a more calm mode of functioning.

E – Eating and Exercise – Your brain is part of your body. In fact it is the biggest energy hog of any organ in your system. Sometimes during the holidays we neglect the important physical care of our brain and body. Use moderation in eating those holiday goodies, and keep up with your exercise routine.

L – Love – Most of your holiday “to do” list comes back to activities or preparations to connect with people you love. Keeping the purpose in mind helps to reduce the stress.

L – Live in the moment – Stay present and enjoy whatever you are doing NOW. A lot of the stress comes from anticipating or worrying about what is still coming. Connect with what you are doing and who you are with right now.

S – Serve – Anxiety and stress are almost always focused on the self. When we get out of our own way and reach out to serve and lift others, we feel less stress. The holidays are a wonderful time to actually do this.

May you have a wonderful and stress-free holiday season!

People before programs, and values before valuables