Welcome to the Monday morning edition of the EPPP Blog, brought to you by the Taylor Study Method. As we find ourselves heading into the holiday season I am reminded of the song by Merle Haggard, “If We Make It Through December”. Sometimes this season including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, meant to be the brightest time of joy in the year, seem to trouble adults more than the rest of the year combined. Why is that? Speaking as a father and not as a licensed psychologist I would hazard to guess the following.
- Meeting the expectations of your family and especially your children for the holidays
- More thoughts focused on spending time with family while playing the constant game of life and work balance
- Reflecting upon the accomplishments and failures of the past year
- Reflecting upon the passing of time
- Looking forward to tax season
- Worry about winter utility costs
- Feeling the time crunch to finish everything by the end of December (whether it is realistic or not)
With all of these things running through our minds (and many others I am sure to have missed), how are we to cope wih the stress and come out ok at the other end of the tube? First I will give a bullet list because I know you like them, and then I will follow that with a summary of sorts.
- Accept that your body will experience stress
- Cultivate awareness and self-care
- Cultivate gratitude
- Remember that anxiety isn’t WHO you are
- Become other-focused
- Be curious about everyday things
So, how do you cope with the stress? Well, as I tell my 10 year old girl, you cannot change the circumstances beyond your control, but you can change the way you react to them. In other words, the name of the game is to manage your emotions. You may not be able to change the situation that caused your stress, but you can change your reactions. Looking for the silver lining, seeing humor in your predicament, or regarding the situation as a test of your faith are all ways that you can manage your emotions and get through even the most stressful hassle. Apply this to life, the season, and your EPPP, and you will be golden!