Need Help Managing The End Of The Year Stress?

It’s both an exciting time of the year with holidays approaching and a stressful time of the year with all you are trying to accomplish. Add on some crazy weather issues and that further complicates things. So, how can you better manage everything and keep your sanity?

Reality Check. First, recognize that you won’t get it all done exactly as you imagined, and let yourself say “that’s okay.” We often have extremely high expectations for what we think we can accomplish during this time of the year. Perhaps we need to make our goals a little more realistic. That doesn’t mean you have to drop your enthusiasm; just do a reality check. See how much time is left and what is actually manageable. Readjust your goals to be more realistic.

Change others’ expectations. In addition to altering your own expectations, talk to your colleagues or supervisors to see if you can make some changes in their expectations for what can be accomplished at the end of the year. Chances are they are feeling just as stressed. Do you really need all those meetings at this time? Can the timelines for some projects be extended? Even if you are only able to change a few things, this can have a powerful impact on reducing your stress and maybe even theirs.

Chunk it into bits. One of the biggest stressors we face is the size of what we have to accomplish – whether it is finishing up work projects, getting all of our presents ready in advance, or cleaning our entire house for holiday company. Sometimes just viewing these massive lists we have created can be overwhelming.

If possible, break those large projects into smaller ones. Sometimes we only have 30 minutes here or there and we think we can’t get our big project done then. Which is true – we can’t. But, if we can break it into parts, we might get some of the smaller parts done during those shorter time periods. That can still help us feel a sense of accomplishment, and that we are not being overwhelmed.

Don’t forget your own self-care. We have the tendency to put all of our projects and others ahead of us during the end of the year mad rush to get it all done. Don’t do this. Make sure you still find time to exercise, get plenty of sleep, and engage in some activities for your own sanity (e.g., mindfulness, meditation, prayer, etc.). You need to keep up your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well being during this time, probably more than at any other time of the year.  Try to do something fun each day – this gives you added joy.

Take advantage of forced slow times. Maybe you are stuck in traffic on the highway or circling a parking lot to find a spot at the shopping mall or waiting in a long line at a store, or on hold on the phone. These are forced slow downs imposed on you. Instead of giving in to the temptation to get angry and frustrated, use these opportunities to do other things.

Each year, we know these things are going to occur, and yet we always seem surprised and frustrated by their existence (as if they just popped up). Be prepared. Bring other things to do while waiting in line or on the phone or as you are circling the parking lot. Maybe listening to relaxing music is just the thing that can keep your blood pressure from rising even higher.

Volunteer. It may seem counterintuitive to volunteer when we have so much on our own plates. But, this is the season to volunteer and help those less fortunate than us. While we may be very busy, sometimes just taking a little time to give back to others helps us to put things into perspective and remember how much we do have. It also helps us to remember the “reason for the season.”

The end of the year comes with celebrating various holidays and welcoming in a brand new year. It should be a time of joy and yet; it often comes with the stress of having too much to do and not enough time to get it all done. Following some of these tips might just help you get your energy back and enjoy this holiday time and ringing in the New Year!

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I am the Helen and William O’Toole Dean of the Villanova School of Business (VSB), and serve as the chief executive, academic and fiscal officer. VSB has more than 150 faculty and staff and 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in VSB’s top-ranked programs. I am a licensed industrial and organizational psychologist with more than 25 years of experience consulting with private- and public-sector organizations. I wrote a weekly career coach column and answered reader questions in a monthly online chat for The Washington Post. I have served as an executive coach for several decades and developed the Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Programs for UMD’s Executive M.B.A. program and the Executive M.B.A. at the University of Tennessee. I earned my Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology from the University of Akron, Ohio and my B.A. in psychology from Loyola University in Maryland.

Source: Need Help Managing The End Of The Year Stress?

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Sign up for our WellCast newsletter for more of the love, lolz and happy! http://goo.gl/GTLhb Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A.? Most people have experienced mild workplace stress at some point in their careers, and it’s not doing them any favors. Stress contributes to higher blood pressure and lower self esteem. This week we’ve got a three-step system to combating office stress and keeping you healthy and sane. Check out some other awesome episodes of WellCast: 1. Coming Out http://goo.gl/amysN 2. Coping With Grief http://goo.gl/aD4OH 3. How to Break the Ice http://goo.gl/CmS8O 4. Dealing With Rejection http://goo.gl/f3Pw5 5. Party Survival Guide for Introverts http://goo.gl/WYZVe ABOUT WELLCAST: In this twice-a-week show, we explore the physical, mental and emotional paths to wellness. With an emphasis on education, the show addresses both the latest trends and long-standing practices of wellness—everything from the efficacy of the gratitude experiment to the importance of sunshine and vitamin D. Follow along as your host, Kate, guides you through a bi-weekly journaling exercises that helps you apply what you’ve learned. The ultimate goal: one year, one show, one journal, one collective journey to wellness. Like us on Facebook! http://goo.gl/0DHVJ Follow us on Twitter! http://goo.gl/Ylcv6 Find us on Google+ http://goo.gl/ylCVT Follow us on Tumblr! http://goo.gl/Ds3TB Follow us on Instagram! http://goo.gl/q3IUC Follow us on Pinterest! http://goo.gl/lNhu2

How To Stop Toxic Comparison & Combat the Envy-Inducing Effects of Social Media – Tara Swart

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Wouldn’t you like to be immune to comparison? To devote your energy to making your own goals happen rather than enviously poring over the details of other people’s successes?

We live in a world in which comparing ourselves with others is easier than ever. Social media means we’re constantly invited to measure the curated high points of other people’s lives against the everyday ups and downs of our own reality.

From a neuroscientific point of view, this can be harmful for two reasons. First, it’s distracting and energy intense. Social media requires you to make a lot of decisions: what to like, how to comment, what content to post and how to frame it. These low-level decisions add up and deplete your cognitive resources for the times when you really need them in your own life.

Second, overuse of social media can trigger your ‘lack’ thinking mode, whereby you activate your brain’s negative pathways as a result of focusing on everything you don’t have and others do. Research into teenage behaviours shows that negative body image and self-objectification are directly related to social-media usage.

The good news is that there is plenty you can do to inoculate yourself against the urge to compare yourself, whether online or in real life, with friends you perceive to be more successful or happier. By focusing on modifications that harness the power of neuroplasticity – your brain’s ability to change for the better – you will be able to build your resilience. Remember, nobody is born confident; it is something you can work at. Here are some ideas for how to do just that:

Think abundantly. This can help you reframe others’ successes as inspiring rather than threatening. Tell yourself there is enough to go around for everyone (partners, great jobs and money). Thinking abundantly translates into liking, commenting and engaging on social media, spreading the love around, focusing more on the positive responses you give to other people than you do on your own feed. This emphasis on giving is a good way to counteract the narcissistic tendencies social media can fuel.

Switch your self-talk. You know that negative voice inside your head? Ask yourself what its underlying message is. It will usually speak to your deepest insecurity, whether that’s “I don’t have what it takes to be successful” or “Change is dangerous. I’d better stay where I am”. Take this exact message and find its opposite: “I am successful” or “Change is exciting”. Repeat this aloud, and with feeling, whenever you remember.

The greater the positive emotional charge you can give your affirmations, the more likely it is your brain will take note of them. This is because emotionally charged thoughts activate a ‘value tagging’ system in the brain that tags not only what is important to you deep down but also creates a sense of your place in the world, such as your identity in life (I belong) or your purpose at work (what I do is meaningful).

Hold on to good feelings. Wellbeing and resilience have been linked with the ability to sustain positivity and savour happy moments after they have passed. In 2015, researchers at CIHM in the University of Wisconsin-Madison used brain scans to demonstrate that those who were able to maintain those good feelings had sustained ventral striatum engagement.

This area of the brain is part of the basal ganglia, where our internal reward systems are found. You can work on enhancing this ability yourself by making a point of noticing your successes. Write down your greatest achievements of the past year and past five years, with a line or two on what you learnt from each of them. I recommend writing a miniature version of this list every night too. Note down the compliments you get. Print out pictures of yourself you like. This will help remind you that there is plenty you are doing that is good.

Get used to fake stress. Boost your natural mental and physical resilience by trying intermittent fasting (this could be as simple as only eating between 12 noon and 8pm most days) or having a regular ice-cold shower followed by a sauna. Training yourself to endure temporary hardship has been found to improve immunity (fasting) and build the brain’s fight or flight response (cold-water immersion), rather like the way allergies are sometimes treated through controlled exposure to the allergen.

Let unhelpful thoughts move along. Regular mindfulness meditation will help you to allow unfriendly thoughts to pass without clinging on to them. This way, you avoid veering off down an inadequacy-inducing rabbit hole of comparison, a huge waste of brain energy that comes at a great cost to your confidence.

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