5 ways to destress during holidays

Set an intentional one-word theme; create a morning ritual; and other tips.

Sad Upset Lonely Girl Crying Next to Her Christmas Tree
Nicoleta Ionescu/nicoletaionescu -
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The holiday season can be filled with both joy and stress. Many people may deal with family, work, financial or personal challenges on a daily basis. The holidays can add even more responsibilities than usual causing additional stress.

These practical tips can help you manage the stress that accompanies the holidays:

  1. Create a morning ritual. What you do at the start of your day can set the foundation for the rest of it. Listening to the news, jumping on your phone or tending to email first thing in the morning can lead to a stressful start to the day. Instead, develop a morning practice that will set your day on a positive note.

    Try reading, meditating, journaling, sitting quietly, yoga, exercising, being in nature or listening to calming music. The time you spend does not need to be long. Even a few moments can set the foundation for the day, equipping you with a relaxed, clear mind and a strong mental state to handle stressful situations.

  2. Disrupt old negative thought patterns. What you focus on you feel. So, when you focus on the things that trigger your negative emotions, you feel bad.

    To counteract this, change your focus to things that you love, appreciate and are grateful for. Evoke positive emotions by thinking of things such as your family, pets or good health. The human brain cannot hold two opposing emotions at the same time. By intentionally focusing on what you are grateful for, you will naturally feel better.

  3. Set an intentional one-word theme. A one-word theme is a single word that you choose for the day, week, month or even a year to guide your thoughts, words and actions. Some examples are grace, flow, peace, focus, presence, joy or kindness. When you set an intention, it becomes a guiding force that guides your thoughts and actions.
  4. Apply this peaceful mindfulness technique. It helps to physically disrupt your negative emotional patterns. An easy technique is to focus your attention on your fingers.

    Start by tapping your thumb to your index finger and say “peace." Next, tap your thumb to your middle finger and say “begins." Then, tap your thumb to your ring finger and say “with." End with tapping your thumb to your little finger while saying “me." Repeat this phrase “Peace begins with me” while tapping this finger sequence for several rounds until you feel a calming sensation.

  5. Begin with the end in mind. Take some time to reflect on what you want to look back on this holiday season. Ask yourself questions like, “How do I want to remember myself in terms of my role as a parent, spouse, friend, son, daughter, co-worker or community member?” “What inner strength did I draw upon?” or “What is most important this holiday?”

    This will guide your thoughts and actions toward being your best self — despite your current circumstances.

Pam Solberg-Tapper is a professional certified coach, business consultant and professional speaker based in Duluth. Contact her at or 218-340-3330.

Related Topics: MENTAL HEALTH
Pam Solberg-Tapper, president of Coach for Success Inc., is a Duluth-based executive coach, professional speaker and adventure marathoner.
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