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Managing Holiday Stress

2014-11-18 22.12.33The late calendar year hums with holiday magic. Families gather to feast. Gifts are exchanged, and lights festoon the windows. The holidays bring great joy to the world! They allow us to take time off work, celebrate with friends and colleagues at special events, and spend quality time with our loved ones.

This busy time of year also brings special challenges. Many of us find ourselves in a flurry of parties, seeing distant relatives, and travel. Our routines get disrupted, and we spend more money looking for the perfect gifts for everyone. Old conflicts with family can resurface. Some of us end up feeling lonely because we feel we don’t have enough events to attend or people to spend the holidays with.

Self-care is of particular importance during the holiday season, and what we need varies based on our Enneagram type. We’ve put together a list of tips for managing stressors and getting the most out of the holiday season, based on your social and communication style. You can learn more about the three communication styles and identify yours by reading our blog post Crafting Successful Communication.

Soloists (Enneagram Types 4, 5, and 9) – As a Soloist, you offer a spirit of creativity and reflection during the holidays. You’re also at risk for being overwhelmed by the additional socialization, travel, and activities. Staying grounded and aware of your body is particularly important. Make sure to take the time to recharge your batteries if your holiday season is busy. Step outside and take a breather during holiday events, and look for individual roles you can take in the events, such as preparing the food or playing the holiday music. If your social circle is smaller and your holidays tend to be solitary, get out of your comfort zone and attend an event! Local nonprofits are always looking for volunteers on holidays, and Meetup.com groups often have holiday celebrations.

Initiators (Enneagram Types 3, 7, and 8) – If you’re an Initiator, you bring natural energy and enthusiasm to this festive season. You likely have a busy schedule all the time, and the holidays get even busier! You may find yourself running from place to place on little sleep. It may be necessary for you to prioritize events and skip some to maintain your self-care practices. Stay present in your heart center at the gatherings you go to by letting yourself be emotionally affected by the people around you. Take the extra effort to appreciate friends and loved ones through verbal acknowledgement, a thoughtful card, or a carefully chosen gift. This is also a great time to prioritize helping the less fortunate, through your time or financially.

Cooperators (Enneagram Types 1, 2, and 6) – As a Cooperator style, your generosity and commitment shine during the holidays. You may feel a strong sense of duty to your family, charity, or religion, and it can be easy for you to get overcommitted trying to support everyone in your life. Take some time to individually reflect on your own values, and make sure to take on only those responsibilities that align with them. Saying “No” to that extra commitment is important sometimes; take care of yourself by scheduling in some time to rest. And have fun at the events you do attend! Supporting others during the holidays can be richly meaningful, but letting your hair down and enjoying yourself is important too.

No matter what type you are, maintaining your daily practice throughout the holidays will help you stay mindful and centered. We wish all of you a wonderful holiday season this year!