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Written by Sandy Stone, Licensed Professional Counselor

Monday, September 23rd, was the first day of fall.  Thinking of fall may bring your thoughts to the upcoming holiday season and all the hustle and bustle you have to look forward to from fall festivals, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all the way to the New Year.  The holiday season might mean more stress and anxiety so to keep things on track, here are some tips for overcoming seasonal stress:

P – Put other people first.  Get your mind off yourself and consider how you might help alleviate the stress of others.  Maybe you can call and check on a friend. Don’t spend 15 minutes telling about all the stress you are under, but ask them how they are doing and listen carefully for ways you can speak encouragement or helpful comment.


U – Understand this is seasonal.  Maybe it’s more than seasonal for some, but for a lot of us, the holidays seem to carry their own level of stress.  Reminding ourselves that there is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel may help calm us down just a bit.


M – Mindfulness in action.  Mindfulness is focusing on one specific thing and pushing away thoughts that might crowd in and distract.  Take one thing at a time during this busy season. Get those costumes ready for the Halloween party and when thoughts of Thanksgiving dinner begin to overwhelm you, push them away and return your focus to the current seasonal need.  Remind yourself that you will deal with that dinner menu once Halloween is over.


P – Pray for strength, peace, and clarity.  


K – Keep on keeping on.  Take a break if you need to, then get back at it.  A short break can reset the brain and help you think more clearly.  Set a timer if necessary just as a reminder that once that alarm sounds, it’s time to get back to work.


I – Imagery.  Remind yourself of how you walked through this stressful time last year and imagine yourself using the same useful tools to get through the current season.  


N – Natural senses.  Use your 5 senses to give yourself a moment to relax and regenerate.  

Touch –Try putting your hands (or feet) in warm water or use stress balls for a calming effect.

Taste – Eat your favorite comfort food, take a snack break or drink a calming tea like chamomile.

Smell – light a candle or diffuse some essential oils.  Practice slow breathing as you sniff and enjoy.

Sight – enjoy a sunset or imagine one in your mind.  Watch a funny movie or read for pleasure.

Hear – put on some music.  Whether soft and calming or upbeat and distracting, music can rejuvenate.


Whatever you choose to do, let this PUMPKIN be your guide to a more relaxed, less stressful holiday season.  If you find yourself needing more than just these suggested tips, call Legacy Counseling Service in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma at 918-505-4367 for a licensed therapist to help walk you through the anxiety and stress of this upcoming season.

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