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Help for Holiday Stress

1 December 2015

Allison read The show must go on. But at what cost? by Brené Brown and was grateful for another installment of Brown's practical wisdom (and vulnerability).

Tags: allison read, balance, brene brown

It’s December and for many people this month is a time of celebration. One of the great joys of working with different clients from so many walks of life is that I get to hear about their lives. I especially enjoy learning about different holiday traditions. A lot of these rituals are joyful. Some of them bring up poignant and maybe even painful memories especially if the person is going through a period of grief. And often, there is a sense that there is a lot that “should” be done (decorating, sending cards, hosting parties, attending parties, buying and wrapping gifts, attending religious services, traveling to see family, hosting family, cooking, and so many other wonderful, but also possibly tiring things.)

I spend a lot of time talking about “shoulds” with my clients throughout the year. Figuring out how to live a satisfying, happy, meaningful, balanced, and less stressful life often requires a certain amount of wrestling with the “shoulds” we feel from others and those we impose on ourselves. Too often when we’re feeling stressed we lose the ability to remember that we have all sorts of choices we can make about what to do and how to feel. I believe the sense of “should” gets even more intense in December.

As you think about the holidays and what you feel you “have” to do, I want you to notice how much stress you’re feeling. If that stress feels uncomfortable and creates more pressure than you enjoy, I suggest you read Brené Brown’s post, The show must go on. But at what cost? Brown’s work makes regular appearances on the Allison Partners blog for a good reason. Her research on vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame is helpful information for so many of our clients who want help with the messy, complicated, wonderful people stuff.

In this post, Brown shares with humor and candor her struggles to follow her own advice during the holiday season. Too often she’s gotten caught up in the “shoulds” she feels in December and done things she regretted like yelling at her children when they wanted time with her while she’s trying to get the Christmas cards addressed. While the choices and tradeoffs Brown and her family have made in their lives to manage holiday stress may not be the right ones for you and your family, I think her story might help you to examine your own choices so that you can take steps toward feeling better.


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