Resilience Tips for the Holidays - For More HO HO HO! and Less NO NO NO!

Subscribers to Adaptiv's Enews have already seen this brief tip sheet for staying resilient during the holiday season. Hopefully, those readers will forgive me for posting it here as well:

Although the holiday season provides a break from the stresses of our everyday lives, it brings with it stressors of its own that can be a real drain on our resilience, our happiness and even our health. In fact, a poll by the American Psychological Association showed that 61% of Americans cited lack of money as a top cause of holiday stress, followed by the pressure to buy gifts, lack of time, and credit card debt. Further, 1 in 5 Americans were worried that holiday stress could affect their physical health and more than a third reported either eating or drinking alcohol to cope with holiday stress.

The holidays tend to expose us to close encounters with friends, family members and situations that can push our buttons, activate our Thinking Styles and sap our resilience. Here are 4 suggestions for how to stay calmer and more resilient in spite of the additional stress. While common-sensical, it can't hurt to visit or re-visit these as the holidays approach:

  • Be prepared - Take a moment to identify the specific situations and people that you know from experience will stress you out. Then, come up with one or two ways that you can think about them in a more positive way. But keep it real. If you can't come up with plausible ways to view them positively, then try to either avoid or at least minimize your contact with them.
  • Set expectations - Particularly if money is an issue, try to set realistic limits on gift giving with close friends and family members.
  • Take care of yourself first - Honestly assess your resilience level going into the holidays. Eat healthy. Maintain or even increase your exercise. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Get plenty of sleep. All more easily said than done, but more important now than ever.
  • Stay connected - Our most current research shows that how connected we are - to our jobs, our families, our communities, and our faith - has a direct impact on our resilience. The holidays are the perfect time to reach out to friends and family. But even if you are alone, a great way to stay connected is to volunteer. Doing something for someone else is a sure way to connect to something bigger than our yourself. And this is a proven way to boost your resilience and your life satisfaction!

Here's to the happiest and most resilient of holiday seasons!

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