Archive for November, 2017

Handling Holiday Stress

November 20, 2017

From pumpkin spice to peppermint mocha, there’s a tangible feel as the seasons change. Yet, for every bit of holiday magic, extra stress and confusion can easily spoil the show. Parties, traditions, food, and scheduling conflicts can add up to a holiday handful. Whether you find yourself dreading or anticipating that annual event, consider these tips to keep your relationships happy and healthy.

  • Pay attention – Expectations, memories, and drama can easily complicate the season’s joy. Be mindful of your feelings and needs, particularly if you’re in a different situation than last year. Grieving the loss of a loved one, relationship, or job can leave you feeling sad. That’s okay. Even though it’s the holidays, you don’t have to be happy.
  • Be realistic – Communicate your expectations of others and yourself. Remember, you are only one person. You can only be in one place at a time, bake so many cookies, and spend so much money. Consider scaling things back to enjoy the most from each detail.
  • Prevent stress – Everyone has that one family member, coworker, or acquaintance that gets on their nerves. Postpone deep or controversial conversations. Stay cordial, stick to the small-talk and form an exit strategy to excuse yourself from a potential disagreement.
  • Say no – Practice the discipline of saying no to preserve feeling overwhelmed and resentful. Cherish your holiday, say no to the good and yes to the best.
  • Travel solo – Double-booked with multiple engagements? Consider splitting the events with your partner. Driving separately so one of you can leave early is another alternative. Stand up for your individual needs to strike the perfect holiday balance.
  • Plan – Reduce last-minute surprises by organizing a plan for who, what, when, and where. Communicate your plans by writing them down or sharing via your favorite mobile device app.
  • Minimize – Consider limiting your sugar, food, and alcohol intake. Avoid holiday hangovers by cutting back.

No matter what holiday situation arises, practice the art of being polite. Keep scrooge locked away and remember your manners. Say thank you, send a note, or consider a donation to your favorite charity.

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Creating Your Personal Identity

November 16, 2017

Who do you most admire? Do you regularly achieve what you want? Have you thought about the legacy you’ll leave? If these sound like mature, adult questions, it might surprise you to know you began forming these answers in childhood.

POPULAR BELIEF PATTERNS
As young children, we began to form our personal identity by observing our place in the world around us. We then made conclusions about behavior, attitude, and ourselves. While this process is perfectly normal, it can become problematic when these beliefs go unchallenged and lead to distorted perceptions of reality in adulthood. Some examples are:
  • I can’t do things on my own.
  • I have to be perfect for people to like me.
  • I’m not smart enough to do what I’d really like.
  • I am/am not _____________ (you fill in the blank).

DEVELOPING YOUR PERSONAL IDENTITY

If you’re unsatisfied with how you view yourself and the world around you, you can work toward shaping a clear personal identity that can lead you to your desired vision of life. If your identity is shaped by external circumstances – like wealth, attractiveness, or relationship status – your perceived value can flip in an instant. A better and more stable choice is to base your personal identity on values and principles that you can actively control. Here are a few steps to help you discover and develop your personal identity:

  • Choose – Pick five values you desire to emulate in your life.
  • Identify – Determine what each value means to you. If you desire an honest life, write down what an honest life looks like to you. Try to be as specific as possible.
  • Determine – Consider how your choices contribute to or minimize that value. Learn from your past to help direct your future.
  • Practice – Incorporate your new values into daily actions. For instance, if you want to be trustworthy, ask yourself, “What would it look like to be trustworthy in this situation?”
  • Repeat – Work your plan and review as needed.