The holidays are almost here and getting caught up in the seasonal hustle and bustle can bring as much stress as joy. That’s why it’s crucial to practice on-the-go self-care strategies now so you’re prepared for the holiday rush.

The Upside recently explored this topic in an article by Jessica Hicks that outlines several in-the-moment techniques to help you catch your breath, keep your cool, and care for your mind and body while facing even the most stressful situations. Scenarios like....

1. The family member who always pushes your buttons just messaged that they'll be visiting.

When hit with a pang of anger or frustration, our first reaction is often to vent. Rather than letting the situation get the best of you, try cognitive restructuring. Instead of thinking, “I can’t believe they're coming over, I’m so mad I could scream!” shift to a more constructive and compassionate thought like, “This is a frustrating situation, and it's understandable that I'm upset. But getting angry won’t fix anything." ​​By putting your emotions into perspective, you'll not only realize you can get through it; you also might see a solution to ease the situation, like arranging a flurry of activities for your visitors to keep them out of your hair.

2. You can't stop thinking about the email backlog that awaits you after the holidays.

You've heard about the Sunday Scaries? Well, the Holiday Scaries are just as real. Come up with a plan now so you can enjoy your time off and truly unplug. We recommend scheduling blocks on your calendar once you're back at work that are dedicated to reading and responding to emails – and nothing else. Don't aim to clear your inbox in one fell swoop; instead, try working in increments of 15 to 30 minutes to eliminate distractions and keep you on task. 

3. The kids are fighting, the phone is ringing, and dinner is burning on the stove – too many things are happening at once!
In moments when your fight-or-flight response is triggered, your breath is your best friend. Try doing some belly breathing: Simply sit or lie flat in a comfortable position, place one hand on your belly and one on your chest and take a deep breath through your nose. You should feel your belly pushing your hand outward while your chest remains relatively still. Then, breathe out through pursed lips and feel your hand move closer to you as your belly retracts. Repeat these steps three to 10 times for maximum calm. 

Read the full article here and remember, the holidays are *supposed* to be about taking a break, so don't forget to give yourself one!