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What are the things that stress you out the most?

Diane Schiff, 162nd Fighter Wing WDPH. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. David Neve)

Ms. Diane Schiff, 162nd Fighter Wing WDPH. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. David Neve)

TUCSON, Ariz -- Holiday Greetings! As we move through the holiday season I thought some tips on stress management might be in order.

What are the things that stress you out the most?

· Finances
· Marriage
· Work deadlines
· Parenting demands

Chances are that during the holiday season these stressors only get worse. In addition to these stressors, you probably are dealing with: more crowds, roads, malls, and packed grocery stores. Lines are longer than ever and move especially slow when you`re in a hurry. More stuff to get done!

If you keep a to-do list, chances are its growing out of control. Plays, recitals, end of year work pressures, shopping for the perfect presents, mailing cards, planning events, all can make the days seem too short.

What about the holiday meals? Clean the house, grocery shop, cook all day, entertain the guests, clean up, put the kids to bed then have fun.

Stress is unavoidable this time of year. Consider doing the following when the holiday season starts to feel like a burden rather than a time of relaxation, togetherness, gratitude, and peace.

1. STOP, AND BREATHE - Literally. Stress sucks the oxygen out of us. We need to slow down and re-start our nervous system. Intentional deep breathing does this.
2. ASK FOR HELP - There are times when we all need a little extra help. It's the wise person that knows this and the courageous one who reaches out.
3. RE-EVALUATE EXPECTATIONS - The holidays will frequently disappoint. If you take each day (hour) as it comes without expecting things to be predictable, smooth and controllable, you detach from outcomes and are freed up to appreciate what does come.
4. IDENTIFY PRIORITIES - The perfect holiday meal or quality time with your significant others?
5. REDUCE YOUR TO DO LIST TO ONLY THE ESSENTIALS - Don't start painting the house now! Ask yourself if ____ can wait a month or so. Also, consider starting a to-do list if this isn't your normal practice. It can help with time management and prioritizing you time.
6. STICK TO YOUR (HEALTHY) ROUTINES - Put going to the gym on your calendar so it doesn't get sacrificed to something that seems more important in the short run. Set a bed time and stick to it.
7. DO A GRATITUDE LIST - Do this especially when you are irritable and don't feel like it. This can change your perspective and energize or calm you.
8. INCREASE YOUR (HEALTHY) SELF CARE ACTIVITIES - When is the last time you took a bath, went for a hike in the desert at sunset or saw a movie with friends?
9. PAY EXTRA ATTENTION TO YOUR WINGMEN. This time of year that the Wingman concept is critical. Is someone you work with/supervise struggling? Do you see a different pattern of behavior (i.e. where once I was calm and steady, now I am irritable and snap at people?) If you don't say something who will? They may be in trouble and not know how to ask for help. Please take the first step.
10. Put the following resource numbers somewhere accessible.

RESOURCES
Wing DPH: Diane Schiff, LCSW 295-7315 or cell 954-9256
Chaplain Martinez 295-6217
Vet Hotline 1-800-273-8255
So. Az. Crisis Center 622-6000
La Frontera Center 844-9920
Peer support line 1-800-642-9277