Managing difficult times means preparing as much as possible. We wouldnt go into an exam without study or into a work meeting without gathering the required information. So to cut out stress early make sure that you are doing the basics well and getting good sleep, working on meditation (or whatever relaxation works for you), exercising and engaging with hobbies. If this is new to you, maybe start as soon as possible before the holidays, but do the best you can.

Time off is also a great time to get hobbies and interests on track for the New Year and start some good habits for the future. 

Know your triggers

It’s easy to think that what someone else does or says is what sets our frustration off, but it’s more likely to be a combination of factors. Is it a lack of sleep that sets you on edge and therefore more frustrated at silly comments, is it too much alcohol the night before or skipping breakfast? Knowing what is more likely to be associated with a bad day is a big step in being able to better manage our stress when it does arise. 

Work out your outs 

You don’t need a Jodie Foster Panic Room setup to avoid the uncle that wants to talk politics, but you can definitely set up some arrangements that work and that are a bit more subtle. You’ve already worked out your triggers, so you know when it is going to be more important to set these up. 

  • Leave the room and find a quiet place (use the excuse of it being too hot/cold); 
  • Take a pet for a walk to “Get them out of the way” for a little bit 
  • Pop on those new headphones or earbuds and ‘test them out’ 
  • Engage in some play with children or animals. 

Any of these don’t have to involve direct confrontation (which can cause additional stress or conflict) and allows us to deal with our own feelings without having to bring them to the fore.