My husband and I were driving over to our friends’ house last night and were delighted to see some houses already decked out with a full display of holiday lights.

I’m talking the entire house and yard.

Perfectly spaced lights wrapped around all of the bushes and trees, icicle lights hanging from the house, huge wreaths and even some fake Christmas trees with all the trimmings.

My first reaction was to admire the decorations. They filled me with cheer.

But before we even passed the house my mind switched to: “That was definitely paid for. Nobody’s dad put those lights up. It’s too perfect.”

So here we go with the holidays, friends.

They’re fun, they’re amazing, we get time off, we spend time with our families….we have to cook, we need to buy presents, when is my husband going to put the lights up….?

Welcome. We are amidst the most bipolar season of the year.

Am I happy? Am I stressed? Am I grateful? I don’t know. I guess I’m all of those things.

Eustress versus Distress

Not all stress comes from a bad place.

We feel the effects of stress from good things as well as from bad and they affect our bodies the same way.

The two types of stress are called Eustress and Distress.

Eustress comes from events that we view as exciting, but also stretch our nerves and produce anxiety. Like the holidays.

Distress is felt when we face events that make us feel overwhelmed, afraid or unprepared. Like the holidays.

Both types of stress elicit feelings of excitability and nervousness, and both result in our bodies’ release of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Resulting physical sensations from either may include butterflies in the stomach, a racing heart, or sweaty palms.

Ultimately, what distinguishes one type from the other is how we feel about the experience.

But I’m not really into writing blogs with content that is already readily available on another website, so please click here for an interesting piece about eustress versus distress.

What are you Stressed About?

I read a couple studies this week. The first stated that holiday spending is expected to be up this year, indicating that Americans are feeling good about their lots in life and the future of the economy. This one made me happy because Santa seems to know when a recession is coming. It also gave me a peek into what to expect from my clients over the next six weeks.

The other study gave research results on what exactly people are stressing about this holiday season, which also gives me some insight on what my clients may be feeling.

Here are this year's top stressors:

  1. Purchasing presents (39%)

  2. How much to spend (38%)

  3. Cooking the holiday dinner (30%)

  4. Prepping the house for guests (28%)

  5. Cleaning before and after gatherings (27%)

See that you are not alone! How many of these items are you worried about, as well?

Before reading ahead, take a moment to write down three things that you are concerned about when thinking about the upcoming holidays.

The best thing you can do to combat the eustress or distress is to go into the holidays with a plan of attack.

I’m Not Messing Around This Year

In early sobriety we learn to have a plan when we know we are about to come in contact with wet faces or wet places. This might mean that we have an answer ready to go when offered a drink. Such as, “No thank you, my stomach has been a little upset today. I will take some water if you have it.”

Without a plan in place for these situations, we can almost guarantee a relapse will occur at some point.

We need to be just as prepared going into the holidays.

It is my job as a life coach to help women be the best possible versions of themselves. Sometimes I'm working with them on living up to their potential and fulfilling their purpose it life, and other times we are working on preparing to overcome potential problems before they get hold of us.

Ladies, let's plan ahead. We’ve just taken some time to identify what our personal stressors are. The next step is to create a Success Plan to overcome these potential obstacles. We need to plan on enjoying this wonderful, yet bipolar time of year.

Of course, we need to start with the basics for our success plan:

  • Practice deep breathing once a day.

  • Get enough sleep.

  • Eat well.

  • Get some physical exercise.

  • Keep close to your friends and reiterate your success plan to them.

Ladies. Don’t just read through that list and nod to yourself. Yep…gunna do that for sure….

Grab that piece of paper where you wrote down your top three concerns and detail out what time each day you are going to practice deep breathing. Or, which days can you go for a walk or hit a yoga class.

Then, actually do it this year, okay?

Beyond the basics, we also need to write 2-3 coping strategies around the concerns we identified.

Do you dread holiday shopping? Amazon, baby.

Is your brother going to get drunk and make your mom cry? Make plans around when you will get to the party, who you will talk to, what you will talk about, and what time you’ll be bouncing on home.

And perhaps hand your brother a water once an hour.

If you feel like you’d benefit from some extra support this holiday season, please sign up for a free breakthrough session so we can talk about what you are worried about and how we can overcome these obstacles to happiness together.

Have a great Thanksgiving everybody!

Join My Tribe!

This year I’m thankful for each of you! If you have not done so already, please join my group of like-minded women who are on a mission to support each other called Living Purposefully.

This private group will provides:

  • Content usually reserved only for clients

  • Weekly live videos

  • Supportive and motivational messages

  • Exciting group exercises

  • Online workshops

Let’s grow together! Click here to join my Living Purposefully Facebook group.

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