It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Or is it? For many, this time of the year is associated with high stress as the pressure is on to complete your to-do list or find that best bargain. Wanting to do your best and ‘achieve’ the perfect present or perfect meal creates a great deal of pressure resulting in stress. Good news! Many of the mental skills you have developed as an athlete are transferable to your everyday life to help you ‘perform better’ at whatever the holiday task may be.
Knowledge is power: Stress is usually brought on by how we perceive a situation or event. Many a time we evaluate an event as stressful; however, it is your perception and feelings towards it that create stress. If you view a situation/event as daunting or unachievable, a stress response is triggered causing both physiological and psychological effects. For most, the situations you may find yourselves in are unavoidable, but here are some tips to help manage your stress during this joyous time:
Reframe: Stress is a byproduct of how you see a situation. Instead of already predicting an undesirable outcome try to put a new frame on it to help the way you see it. When we change a picture frame it can often change aesthetic of the picture inside. Think of reframing in this way. Try looking at the situation and pulling out things that can go well and focusing on it so your attitude and approach is better.
Get a good night’s rest: This helps to improve your cognitive functioning so you can make quicker decisions and maintain your focus. Sleep also improves you physiologically, allowing your body to recuperate and keep your immune system strong.
Take a mindful moment: Even if it’s for a couple of seconds try to be still. Take several deep breaths and enjoy the stillness of the moment. This is especially helpful when we feel overwhelmed. You can even try adding in an affirmation or image of something that brings a sense of calmness.
Plan: What is your course of action? Planning is essential to getting all things done efficiently and effectively. This also helps with managing the anxiety you may feel as there is more awareness of an outcome. Pro-tip: don’t only have a plan A, develop a plan B and C too.
Re-evaluate: You may set out with a goal in mind, but an obstacle may throw you off course. Instead of getting overwhelmed and focusing on what you didn’t get gone, try focusing on what you did (celebrate it) and re-evaluate your plan of action to complete the other tasks.