As American psychiatrist and author M. Scott Peck said, "Life is difficult. This is the great truth, one of the greatest truths." Once we accept this fact, it's a little easier to move forward.
And the challenges we face don't go away just because it's the holiday season. Indeed, this can a time of heightened stress for many people.
A wise colleague of mine who is dealing with some difficult personal issues shared with me a few survival tactics that I would like to share with you:
- Watch the numbers. This means striving to get 30 minutes of walking or related activities a day, and eight hours of solid sleep a night. It also means being mindful of calories and high-fat foods.
- Put first things first. Whatever is important for you to do today, write it down. Repeat after me: Write it down. It's easy to become overwhelmed with demands and expectations. You will get swept away in a tsunami of demands if you don't take care of your own needs.
- Sharpen the saw. The author Steven Covey spoke about "sharpening the saw." He tells the story of two lumberjacks working in the forest. The lumberjack who was most successful was the one who would periodically stop to sharpen and oil his saw. Follow this example. Make time to preserve your greatest asset — you.
- Let go of unrealistic expectations. Don't get hung up on the mythology of the holiday season. Few American families fit the traditional mold of a mom, a dad and 1.7 above-average children. We live in a time of the blended family and step-relatives. Be gentle with yourself and be realistic with your expectations.
As demands for your time increase during this season, you need to do more for yourself — not less. After all, what are the holidays all about? It's not the stuff. It's about about finding peace and serenity for ourselves and sharing it with our fellow travelers.
Join the discussion at #Stress.Dec. 12, 2012