By Kevin Cameron
Marriage and Family Therapist
Certified Professional Trauma Therapist
Anchor Therapy Clinic, Chief Executive Officer
North American K9, Chief Executive Officer Founder,
Alpha K9 Service Program Host,
“Canine” the Series; Airing 2020 Discovery Network
As a mental health professional, managing the stress of the holiday season is a topic that continually comes up. Throughout the year, most of us have been busy planning for events, managing work schedules and even taking care of families. It is essential to find ways to cope with the stress in our lives, especially around the holidays. Especially for those working in service industries such as retail workers, assistants, middle management, medical professionals, and even parents, a lot of times we tend to take on the stressors of those we work with and our family members. The holidays have passed, but these issues come up year round and its important to work on stress management skills before stressors come up.
There are a few easy things that everyone can do to help manage and even prevent stressors:
- Acknowledge your feelings.
Even if it is only to yourself, acknowledge that you may be getting stressed or overwhelmed. Acknowledging your feelings lets you be mindful of where you are at.
- Reach out to friends and loved ones when you feel stressed.
Simply talking with someone can lessen burdens and help motivate you to push through.
- Set realistic expectations and plan ahead.
Setting practical expectations of what to expect gives you realistic goals to achieve. Planning not only ensures your finances stay within your budget but also gives you milestones to reach; think of it as a checklist to meet your goals.
- Do not be afraid to say, “No.”
We all want to help everyone on our friends’ list; however, there are only so many hours in the day. Do what you can for others but not at the expense of our own mental stability.
- Most importantly, do not forget to maintain your healthy habits. Don’t forget to take time for your self-care rituals whether it be a cup of tea or even ten minutes to yourself cruising social media.
For those of us who think that they do not have self-care skills or may need a few more ideas on how to lessen their stress, here are a few simple ideas that may help:
- Take five minutes out of your day to just breath.
- Long deep breaths in and out helps to center yourself and relax. There are many apps out there on mindfulness and guided meditation or breathing if you need a little help.
- Take time out for yourself. Whether it is taking a bath, reading a few chapters in a book, or even cruising through your favorite blog taking a little time out for just you can allow you to clear your head and recharge the proverbial batteries.
- Do a little physical activity. Go for a walk, a run, or even stretch. Physical activity like most self-care, is about releasing endorphins in your body, and with 20-30 minutes of lite physical activity, you are bound to feel better when you get done. I would not suggest running a marathon if you have not tried running since high school but when in doubt, it is recommended that you consult your doctor to determine an appropriate level of activity for you.
Taking the time to reward yourself with a little you time is the best way to relax during busy times. Taking a few moments to make sure we have things planned out and to include “me” time is an excellent way to prevent stress. We all work hard to ensure everyone is taken care of during the holiday season. Do not forget to add yourself to that list too. For more tips and tricks go to kevin-cameron.com or anchortherapyclinic.com
About the Author
Kevin Cameron possesses a Master’s Degree in Psychology and is a highly decorated combat veteran. As a Military Working Dog Trainer, Handler, and Kennel Master, Kevin Cameron served nearly 14 years in the military, distinguishing himself in the US Army through numerous combat deployments and international operations including Kosovo, Bosnia, the Balkans, Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan. Kevin Cameron developed and implemented numerous training programs allowing for the successful operation of multiple Military Police Working Dog facilities in the United States and abroad. Kevin Cameron served as the Afghanistan Country Manager for the DoD’s Canine program, and is considered a leader in organizational management, strategic planning, team development, canine utilization, canine behavior modification and PTSD Service Dog training. Kevin Cameron is a DoD certified Kennel Master, Trainer, and Handler. Kevin Cameron’s distinguished service record with his working dog teams consisted of 52 Explosive finds and 132 Narcotic finds. Kevin Cameron has over 300 working dog certifications, and is a certified AKC CGC & Community Canine Evaluator, P.O.S.T. K9 Evaluator as well as being a published author. You can find out more about