Are the holidays adding to your stress? All the extra commitments—friends, family, and colleagues all seem to want more from you. I guess that’s good, but how do you actually enjoy all of this “fun” without losing your mind?
The Answer? Have Fun!
In all seriousness, the answer to “How do I reduce stress?” is to have fun. If you’re at the office party, enjoy spending time with the people you work with and like. If you are out shopping (or more likely cyber shopping), think about how productive you are, getting it all done from your laptop. If you are with your family, enjoy the time with them—even that annoying sibling!
This sounds easy, but how?
It’s Simple: Be Where You Are!
The simple answer to your stress-fun quandary is to be present. That means being where your feet are. Whether you are with your kids or colleagues, be with them. That means, instead of thinking about all the work or other things you need to do, such as clean the house, buy gifts, or figure out where Aunt Ethyl will sleep, you need to breathe and enjoy being with the people are you with.
I know it sounds simple, but it’s NOT always easy. The answer is to manage distractions and here’s how:
1. Anticipate: Ask yourself: “Do I really want to attend that event?” If so, go, but not before answering the questions below.
2. Offload: Whether you are going to the office, a holiday party, or grandma’s house, ask: “What will likely distract me from having fun?” Write it down before you leave for the event. This allows you to offload the distraction and, hopefully, the stress by putting it (the thoughts and worries and yet-to-be done to-dos) someplace safe.
3. Breathe: Before entering an event, stop and breathe for a minute. Focus on the event, asking yourself, “Who am I looking forward to seeing?”
What if you find yourself stressed and distracted? Easy: excuse yourself politely by saying, “You just reminded me of something I have to do; let me make a quick note.” Then, take out your phone and do just that.
The true “present” here is the gift you are giving by being present. Enjoy the holidays and all the fun they bring!
If you want to read more about managing stress, download my article Short Circuit Stress, published by the American Society of Association Executives. If you find this useful, please share with your colleagues and friends and let us know what you do to be present or manage your stress! And, don’t forget to have fun!