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Reducing Holiday Stress

This is a little article I wrote last year for Hoo Knows magazine. Thought it would be a great time to share as Christmas approaches.

As a mom and business owner, stress sometimes creeps into my life before I even realize it’s there! And it’s a theme I have seen consistently with other moms, as well. As women, we often carry the stress of the household and more. But there are some things we can do today to help reduce our stress.

Just Say NO. As someone with a streak to please others, this was a hard one to learn. But the more I said no, the easier it became. BEFORE you say YES, STOP and ask yourself if this is something that will bring you joy. If the answer is no, ask one more question: is it your responsibility or is it really someone else’s? If it isn’t your responsibility, maybe you should sit this one out. Have a response ready. “I recently served in __________, so I would like to leave this open to someone who hasn’t yet had the opportunity.” It lets them know that you want to bring others into the loop of service, and reminds them of your recent contribution. The beautiful part of this is that is also leaves you open to say yes to something else that would bring you joy. So, remember, Just Say NO!

The second thing you can do to reduce stress is BREATHE. Practice some controlled breathing at some point during the day. Breathe in for the count of 5, hold it for 5, and then breathe out for the count of 5. Do this about 7 times (no more!). It’s like a reset button for the day. It forces you to slow down, focus your thoughts, and focus your breathing into a slower pace. This helps to prepare you for the rest of the day. We often get so caught up in what comes next, that we forget to slow down and enjoy the moment. Just taking some time to breathe, can really help us prioritize what we really need to do for the remainder of our day.

Lastly, you can reduce stress today by simply going outside. Being outside reminds us that there is a world outside of ourselves. Notice the leaves on the trees, the clouds in the sky, the flowers, the grass, look around at the details. The world around us should remind us of who we are, and more importantly, who God is. Being outside reminds us of our place in the world, and should help us release and let go of some of our worries and stress. So, go outside! Even if you can’t go for a walk, just stepping outside and taking a few breaths, or sitting on your porch for 5 minutes, can help you let go of some of your stress.

So, start letting go of some stress today. Just say NO, stop to breathe, go outside, and let the stress melt away.

Odona Whiddon is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Relationship Coach in Georgia. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and her website at


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