Phoenix FM ‘Happy Club’: Dealing With Christmas / Stress List Day

If you’d prefer to ‘listen‘ to this post (rather than read it), scroll down to the bottom and click the big play button in the centre of the video box, or click here if you’re reading this in an email


Yes folks, it’s that time of year again; it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

For some that means mince pies and merriment, for others it’s mayhem and madness, but regardless of how you feel about the festive season one thing cannot be denied. It can be a tad stressful.

In addition to our usual busy lives, for one month, maybe more, most of us have to contend with (at least some) of the following:

  • Christmas preparation (presents, cards, etc. etc)
  • Other deadlines (“this must be finished before xmas”, “…before the end of year” etc)
  • Yet more deadlines / restrictions! (last posting day, office close down, system change-freeze, ‘Sunday’ service)
  • Adverse weather!
  • Rubbish driving conditions!! (more traffic, less daylight, adverse weather)
  • Extra social events (office party, clubs, kid’s panto)
  • Hang overs!
  • Colds and flu

Is it any wonder that some of us wish that Christmas only came around every other year, or every four years, or maybe once a century.

A few years back I came up with a solution to all this nonsense. Behold STRESS LIST DAY

Step 1: Make a List

Make a list of all the stuff that stressing you now

  • Not a general list; this is not an ‘Ugh List’
  • Only stuff that absolutely has to be sorted
  • Only stuff that keeps popping into your mind

There’s some very interesting research that shows that if you keep thinking about something other than the thing you’re supposed to be thinking about right now, you’re pretty much hard-wired to feel unhappy.

Here’s my stress list..

  • Christmas!
    • Cards
    • Presents
      • Niece
      • Parents
      • Brother in law
    • What does my sister want me to take on Christmas Day?
  • Clients
    • Client 1
    • Client 2
    • Client 3
  • Next book(s)
    • finish edits
    • agree cover
    • audio?
    • launch in January!

Step 2: Prioritise

Re-sort your list with the following in mind

  • Importance (how much trouble would I be in if this didn’t happen?)
  • Deadline dates (last posting date, event date, last working day)

 Step 3: Schedule Stress List Day

Take your diary and schedule 4 to 5 Stress List days / mornings / evenings (or however many days you think you’ll need) between now and a week or so before Christmas.

  • Better too many than not enough
  • Make the time! Cancel other things if you have to!

Just knowing you’ve set aside time to sort these things should make you feel better

Step 4: Work The List

On Stress List Day, work your list in order. You probably won’t feel much better after the first stress list day, but by the end of the second, and the third, when you’ve started to make a dent in that list, your overall stress levels should start to fall.

If it works for you schedule next years Stress List days now, a little earlier than this years.

By the way, books make GREAT Christmas Presents! Why not order a signed copy of How To Do Everything And Be Happy – only £6.00 (plus postage)

Listen to me discussing the Stress List on ‘Happy Club’ (Phoenix FM)

Last week I met up with the delightful Michelle Ward of Phoenix98 FM to discuss the Stress List and other happiness concepts. To listen to the show click the big play button in the image below – or if you’re reading this in an email, click here)

If you have a question for next month’s show feel free to drop me a line, post a comment below, tweet either myself or Michelle, or send me a message on facebook.

The theme for January will be ‘New Year – New You!

Michelle’s live on Phoenix FM every weekday from 10am.

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