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Under Pressure

A mother and her young son in their kitchen, baking.

Navigating the Season’s Stressful Pitfalls

2020 will likely go down in history as one of the most stressful years ever. As if all we are dealing with isn’t enough, in case you haven’t noticed, the holidays are coming up, and are likely to bring with them—you guessed it—more stress. Navigating what holiday traditions and gatherings are feasible during a pandemic, plus the hustle bustle of holiday shopping, shipping, planning, and baking-- it’s a lot to handle! But this isn’t a time for doom and gloom. You are at the controls. You can take action to silence your inner Grinch, and turn up the holiday cheer.

More than 80% of those surveyed considered the holiday season to be “somewhat” or “very” stressful.

– VeryWellMind.com

--Don’t Be Afraid to Say No. It’s a liberating word. If something isn’t working for you or your family, speak up. If you’re too busy to make holiday craft kits for your child’s preschool class, politely decline. If you’re invited to a holiday meal that isn’t socially distant enough for your comfort zone (or that you just don’t want to go to), just say no—no explanation needed.

--Have Realistic Expectations. Take stock of what your current reality is, and adjust accordingly. This year isn’t going to look like past years. The holidays notoriously conjure up an over-the-top, more-is-more mentality that can really be setting yourself up for failure. Focus on the most important things, and put everything else into perspective.

-- Cut Corners. That’s right, slack off a little bit. Are you the kind of person who wants to do everything—and do it big? Maybe you don’t need to send cards to 300 people. Cut your list or better yet—post your card on your Facebook or Instagram page and call it a day. If going big isn’t working for you, scale it back. If you’re spending too much time trying to figure out the perfect gift for each niece and nephew, just go for the Amazon gift card and let them shop for themselves. They’ll love you for it.

--Seek Out Sunlight. As winter approaches, the days are getting shorter, and there’s a distinct chill in the air. It’s time to move indoors in many parts of the country, bringing with it the feeling that the World is closing in. Find ways to seize any natural light you can soak up, and be sure to still spend time outside at least once a day – both are big mood boosters and good for your physical health too.

--Validate Your Feelings. Psst- It’s OK to not be happy and cheerful all the time—especially when you’re dealing with hard or complicated circumstances. Case in point: 2020. The year that just wouldn’t cooperate. If you’re disappointed because you can’t throw a Christmas party this year, or because you haven’t been on a vacation for ages and you just need to get away, that’s OK. Just because other people are going through the same thing doesn’t make your feelings any less valid. Talk about it with a friend. Don’t be afraid to show emotions.

--Make a Plan When things feel like they are spiraling out of control, one of the best things you can do is take steps to regain any control you can. Sit down and map out a plan. Maybe for you it’s a “to do” list for the holiday season where you can satisfyingly cross things off, or maybe it’s a diagram of what your top priorities are. If finances are a concern this year, make a budget. Seeing what you have, and quantifying your priorities, will eliminate many of the “unknowns” that lead to stress.

--Take Time for You “Take care of yourself,” Premier Protein shaker Shelly Pineda reminds us. “It seems like that is obvious, but we often forget. Self-care looks different for everyone. I like to workout, some people might like sleeping in, others might like binge watching shows. Whatever it is you LOVE doing for YOURSELF." Can we get an Amen?!

Serenity Now. Channel your inner Elsa, and Let It Go. There’s a lot in life right now that is beyond our control. Identify what you can and cannot gain control over, and make a conscious effort accept the things you can’t change. That list might feel pretty long-- the constraints of a global pandemic, how other people act, need we go on? As a side note, give others a little grace. Remember you’re not the only one who is feeling the stress these days.

Stay Healthy. This is the time of year when all kinds of tempting treats start sneaking into you line of sight. Don’t be afraid to indulge a little—but also remember the things that make your body feel good. Be sure you’re still getting enough protein and vegetables, and you add movement into your day. There’s nothing more satisfying than setting fitness goals and achieving them! P.S.- these Protein Sugar Cookies are a festive option to get your protein and your dessert fix at the same time!

Make New Traditions—at Home. Replace the things you might miss this year with new, safe plans. If you’re crafty, have a family art session to make seasonal decorations. If you can’t go to parties this year, have family cookie baking night instead. Pile in the car with your “pod”—or whoever you might be quarantining with—and take a drive to enjoy the holiday lights.

Breathe. It sounds simple, but sometimes we forget what gives us life. Taking deep, slow breaths for one minute can bring a much-needed sense of calm.

What will bring you calmness this holiday season? Let us know on Instagram @PremierProtein.