by Joe Raab
With the holidays just around the corner, it is far too easy to fall into the stress of the season. From finances to food to family, stress can knock on your door more than the neighborhood carolers. However, there are some ways to deal with and perhaps avoid stress by following a simple four-step plan: plan, delegate, relax, and celebrate.
Plan — The first step is to plan. Look ahead to the next coming weeks. What do you have to do? One way to remember everything is to write all responsibilities on a calendar. Calendars are good to forecast what needs to be done when. Figure out what needs to be done in the upcoming month, then figure it out by weeks, and then by the day. Some people might prefer to plan the day before or when they first wake up. Either way, get organized and figure out your time. Also, put goal dates on everything you want to accomplish. Holding yourself accountable to a date will help you complete more tasks. Knowing when stuff should be getting done is the first aspect to deal with in un-welcomed stress.
Delegate — Now that you have planned out your time, we can move on to the second step. After you prioritize tasks, figure out what you need to do and what you can delegate to others. Do you really need to make eight dozen cupcakes for your child’s school or could you buy them? Or could you get seven other people to make a dozen each and only make one yourself? Do you need to wrap all of those presents or could you have someone else do it? Or you could save time by just putting it in a bag with some tissue paper. Get your kids to help out. Make a game out of a task or a competition (the kids will not even know they are helping out). This works well with spouses or significant others as well.
Relax — Now that you have planned out your time and delegated to increase more time, take a couple of moments to relax. Constantly going like the Energizer bunny will only add to your stress. The saying goes “stop and smell the roses.” Or we could go with Ferris Bueller’s famous statement “life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” Some ways to relax could be deep breathing, meditation, yoga … and the list goes on. Maybe treat yourself to a massage? You know now that you have all of that extra time.
Celebrate — Now that you have almost all of your stress relieved, you need to move on to the most important stress reliever: having fun. Too often we get so serious and forget to have a good time. Stress is damaging while celebrating is invigorating. Can’t think of a reason to celebrate? How about the simple fact you are alive and reading this right now. Perhaps celebrate someone else. Smile. Be merry! Celebrate less stress!
Joe Raab is a success driver. He works full-time in corporate IT, teaches college communication courses, and is a life coach.