christmas-2973900_1280PixabayI pull up to the ATM, lower my window and can’t quite reach the slot for my debit card. Instead of unbuckling my seat belt, I reach—and then reach a tiny bit further. And that’s when I feel something pop down the right side of my body.

I bet you’ve done this too. Maybe you’ve strained your back moving a sofa or suffered shin splints from over-training for a race.

We all do it. We overextend and end up hurting our bodies.

We overextend in other ways too, especially during the holiday season.

We “have to” buy too may gifts, say “yes” to too many invitations, or incur credit card debt that takes the rest of the year to pay off.

There’s a cascading effect from all of these “yeses.”

It goes like this:

We overextend We get overwhelmed → We feel stressed → We lose joy.

Sound familiar?

Well, now that Thanksgiving has passed, some might say we’re entering the season of joy.

But are we? Are you?

Maybe you’re energized by all you add to your plate for the holidays.

But, if you’re already starting to feel holiday stress, now is a good time to stop and ask yourself a few questions:

  • In what ways am I overextending myself?
  • What might I do less of so I feel more joy?
  • What obligations are stealing my happiness?
  • What new traditions or choices might help?

Here are few ideas to consider:

  • Have a family gift exchange (rather than buying a gift for each person)
  • Send New Year’s Cards instead of Holiday Cards (gives you more time)
  • Set a holiday budget (and stick to it)
  • Give yourself permission to say no (more on that below)

And one of the best ways to feel less stressed is to stop trying to do everything and just do one thing at a time.

Yep, just one thing.

Imagine you’re hiking up a huge hill. When you glance up you mMattHikingGrouseMt.ight be thinking, I don’t know if I’m gonna make it to the top.

But, if you look just at the steps right in front of you you’ll think, I can climb these few steps. And before you know it you’ll make it!

So, I’d say that we can avoid becoming overwhelmed, stressed, broke and joyless this holiday season by not overextending ourselves and taking things one step at a time. What would you say?

P.S. If learning to say “no” is one of the things you need to practice please check out this blog post: I want to Say “No” But I Keep Saying “Yes”

Book Cover smallFor more on identifying stress and reducing it, check out my award-winning book, Less Stress Business: A Guide for Hiring, Coaching and Leading Great Employees

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