3 Steps for Managing Holiday Stress in 2020
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Just because you have a cactus doesn’t mean you have to sit on it”? Let’s use that metaphor when it comes to managing holiday stress in 2020. Things like stress, a pandemic, and the holiday season are all unavoidable, so let’s talk about acceptance and how we can use it as a tool to handle the stresses we can’t avoid.
Pain vs. Suffering
The cactus metaphor from the start of this post is there to illustrate that just because you have something difficult in your life, doesn’t mean you have to suffer because of it.
Pain is the thing you’re experiencing; it could be physical or emotional pain. Suffering is the way you’re approaching it or experiencing it. This could be what you’re focusing on or how your life is being impacted.
The pain is sometimes unavoidable, but you get to decide how you react to it and whether you experience suffering. Going back to our metaphor, you can choose not to sit on the cactus!
Setting the Scene in 2020
This is December 10th, 2020. Here in Ontario, the pandemic is raging! We’re in Code Red for pandemic restrictions and things aren’t much better throughout the rest of the country. We’re also well into December- the holiday season and all of the pressures and stresses that come with it are here.
On top of the typical gifts, decorating, running around, busyness, and conversations with family about holiday plans, we’re navigating something completely new. The planning conversations are revolving around how to celebrate while in a pandemic.
3 Steps for Managing Holiday Stress in 2020 with Acceptance
1. Note It
– Name the “cactus” (What is the thing or the person that’s causing stress?)
– Note what it is about this “cactus” that you don’t like (What are you resisting and why?)
2. Feel It
– Recognize that you can’t change it
– Let yourself feel the sadness or grief
3. Live With It
– How can you alter your traditions?
– How can you get creative? What shifts can you make?
– Focus on gratitude for what IS good
Who knows, in the end, maybe that cactus turns into a “Christmas Cactus”!