Don’t blow a stress tire this holiday! Here are three ideas on how to help resolve some of the holiday associated stress, including tips on how to delegate
There are two kinds of people that will come into my office with more pain this time of year:
- The person who experiences sadness and stress because of personal difficulties with an illness, or the passing of a loved one, or seasonal challenges in personal relationships
- The person who experiences stress because of the demands on him/her being the planner, the host, the arranger of all things Christmas/New Years/Hanukah, etc. — or the person who has to pay for it all.
Wait, you’re saying that mental and emotional stress can lead to physical pain?
Yes, I am. The idea that mind can affect the body isn’t new to anyone. Most people understand it.
However! Like a lot of things, we can be so close to a situation that we don’t actually see what’s happening when it’s happening to us.
This is especially true of people in group number two…
The planners, the hosts, the arrangers, the go-getters, the I’ll-just-do-it-so-it-gets-done-righters…The people crossing things off three different lists left and right.
And of course don’t forget the people who have to pay for it all, even if that guy or gal isn’t running the day to day of the planning. Sometimes we forget how that can cause stress too.
These are the kind of people who know that stress is a physical thing with physical consequences. But will often forget that it can happen to them.
Until, they “blow a tire.”
When you blow a stress tire
Then this happens….
Them: “I was scheduled for next month, but I though I should come in early.”
Me: “What happened?”
Them: “Nothing. Then out of nowhere, my shoulder spasm came back.”
Me: “That sounds like a lot of nothing happened…”
Them: “And I’m getting the headaches with auras now. It’s been so long since that happened.”
Me: “So, no slips, falls, nothing?”
Me: “Ok, so what else is new? Staying busy?”
Them: “Oh, you know. I’m having dinner for 30 this weekend, 12 out of town house guests the week after, and there’s a recall on my new van which has been stuck at the dealership. So, I’ve got to get this fixed.”
Me: “That sounds a little stressful…”
Them: “Oh, I forgot, Mom was back in the hospital a few days too…You think this could be stress related?”
Me: “Does that make sense to you?”
Them: “Yes, I just thought I was handling everything so well…”
Me: “Well, who says you’re not? A headache with an aura is annoying. At least it’s not a heart attack.”
So, if you’re the host, the planner, the navigator, the linchpin for everyone’s happy holiday, how can you avoid blowing a stress tire?
Three ideas that actually help stress proven by science
Here’s a few ideas. A couple are super obvious, but worth repeating for more interesting reasons than you think…
1. Get more sleep even if you have a lot to do – especially if you have a lot to decide
Yes, your body needs rest to recoup and recover. But sleep is more than that: many people believe that sleep is an unconscious state that allows our minds to get better organized.
And it can help us relieve the stress of making decisions.
You see, a lot of what we experience as “stress” in times of great busy-ness is the result of making decisions. Especially if we don’t feel like we have all the information we need to make a good decision.
You may be stressed not because you have a lot to do but because you have a lot to decide. Sleep may offer us a form of unconscious thinking that may help us make better decisions.
“Let me sleep on it” looks to be a real thing. More sleep. Better decisions. Less stress.
Read more from Live Science: Why sleeping on it helps
2. Realize stress is caused by good things too, and plan accordingly
If you knew you were about to face the toughest week in your life emotionally, you’d probably assume something negative was going to happen to you.
And you’d probably cut yourself some slack.
But, what if your stress was caused by a positive life event? Would you cut yourself some slack over a good thing?
Moving. New jobs. New babies. Weddings. Illness. Divorces. Death.
These are the biggest sources of personal challenge for most people. But we might only see two or three of them as being stressful if stress is something that only happens to us when bad things happen.
If you’re a go-getter it might be going 100 mph doing something you love.
But that doesn’t mean that stress is non-existent because you love doing it. Sometimes the things we’re happy about are also things that can stress our system and also cause us to blow a tire.
Even if this season of lights is your happiest time of the year, you can still feel a little on-edge. And it’s okay to admit. It’s normal.
3. Delegate the stress to somebody else
I’m only partially kidding.
What I mean is “find a team” or some sort of help to take the load off. This seems like it should be the most obvious solution to holiday induced stress.
However, I don’t have a lot of personal experience with delegation.
So, I thought I’d ask an expert: a business mentor who teaches small business owners how to take the stress out of business ownership. And one of the way she does this is teaching the steps necessary to delegate work and make it a happy experience for everyone.
So, this isn’t my advice this is from Business Coach Ruth Mannschreck at Shoreline Strategies:
How to delegate to decrease yours stress around the holidays: three tips
Tip 1: Explain why
Ruth says to properly “tee-up” someone to help you (in a way that decreases stress) – you can’t just focus on HOW to do the task.
“The goal isn’t to have robot team members following your every order. Spend as much time educating about the WHY of the task as you do about the HOW of it.”
You know, this is a great suggestion as I find most people have to be motivated by some sort of purpose. Covering why you’re doing something in a certain way could be helpful in getting it done in a way that actually lowers your stress level.
Tip 2: Keep following up
Ruth says you need to “Inspect what you expect.” You can’t just delegate and walk away. That won’t be stress reducing in the long run.
“Take appropriate time, more frequently in the beginning, to touch base, answer questions, and guide the process.”
Tip 3: Give praise in public, and offer criticism in private
Ruth says this:
“Third, and most important, praise in public, critique in private. Just as delegating takes a bit of courage on your part, so does accepting important action items [your tasks].
Mistakes will be made. It’s never perfect. You’ll both improve as time goes on. Plan on it and your stress will lessen accordingly.”
And there you have it. Three solid tips to follow when delegating tasks to others so that you have less stress in your life, and not just another kind of stress.
So, to recap how to not blow a tire over the holidays, especially if you’re the busiest person you know…
- Get more rest to make better decisions.
- Understand even things you love cause you stress and cut yourself some slack.
- Finally, delegate, and follow the tips to make it work for you.
Of course, not feeling like a pile of you-know-what because you’re body is out of alignment is important as well. Read more about headaches and alignment.