5 Stress-Reducing Habits for the Holidays

Stress reducing habits for the holidays

Good habits are an important part of a successful life. Especially if they become your default setting. Things that you genuinely feel bad about not doing. Deeply ingrained good habits are like positive addictions. They will help get you through the most stressful times in your life and the holidays can be a very stressful time.

This holiday season comes with even more stresses and strains than usual. Many things that stress you these holidays you’ll have very little control over. Developing and maintaining good stress-reducing habits will not only help you to enjoy the holidays but they’ll also set you up very well for whatever 2021 has in store. 

1. Thought Control

An unruly mind, full of negative and pessimistic thoughts causes a lot of stress. Taking control of your mind is a stress-reducing habit that really works. To manage your thoughts, especially in a situation where you know that your needs aren’t being met, takes practice. But it’s extremely beneficial and well worth the effort. 

Only allow thoughts that serve you. When thoughts that undermine you or won’t lead to happy holidays pop-up, replace them authentically with better ones. It’s fine to feel disappointed because you can’t be with loved ones. Or because you don’t have enough money to give your children everything they want. But balance that out with thoughts of gratitude for what you do have. Think creatively about how you can make the holidays a wonderful time. Your thoughts directly impact the way you feel. Better thoughts lead directly to feeling better and having better experiences. 

2. Moderate Exercise

Moderate exercise turns on endorphins. Endorphins are your body’s natural defense against stress. Do some form of exercise you enjoy, where you enjoy doing it. For some people that will be walking in nature. For others, it will be doing a gym session or even a yoga session at home. Any form of gentle to moderate exercise works to reduce stress. Do it every day if you can. Exchanging your usual exercise for a pleasurable physical activity like gardening or playing energetically with the kids now and then, works well too.

3. Get enough Sleep

Sleep is so important in keeping stress levels down and yet it’s often one of the first things to elude you when you’re stressed. When you’re under pressure with too much to fit into each day it’s tempting to reduce your sleep hours. Having more waking hours each day won’t make you more productive if you’re sleepy and stressed. It will also make what you’re doing unsustainable and unpleasurable.  

Good sleep hygiene habits are a must.

– Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool.

– Keep regular sleep hours.

– Stop working intensely at least an hour before you try to sleep.

– Don’t drink coffee or energy drinks late into the day.

– Watch your alcohol intake. Alcohol might send you off to sleep but it won’t  give you a good sleep and it can leave you feeling hungover the next day. 

If you’re still having trouble sleeping, practice relaxing your body, quietening your mind, and focusing on your breathing. If you have problems or a to-do list going around and around in your mind get up and write it all down. 

4. Redirection

Recognize when things are getting on top of you and break the stress cycle. Think of your stress levels like the heat that builds up in a pot on the stove. Ideally, you’d turn down the heat but when that isn’t possible you can take the lid off to keep everything from boiling over. 

You can redirect yourself by doing something relaxing and enjoyable. Whatever you choose to do take your thoughts with you. There’s no point in spending an hour in the garden if your thoughts are still on how you’re going to find a job.

You can also redirect yourself by doing something that needs to get done but is easy and low stress. 

5. Keep up your Dopamine Levels

Dopamine is your happiness hormone. Sleep, exercise, and doing enjoyable things increase dopamine levels but there are other things you can do to give yourself a hit of dopamine.

– Cuddles … and they don’t have to be with people, animals will do.

– Eat enough protein. Keep your diet as balanced and as enjoyable as    possible.

– Listen to your favorite music.

– Meditate … and you can meditate while you walk.

– Get enough sunlight, it really does make a difference

– Keep your lifestyle as balanced as possible.

You hopefully already have a number of these stress-reducing habits in your life. If you do hold onto them tightly. Don’t be tempted to let them go in because it’s the holidays or because you don’t “feel” like it. 

When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed it’s easy to let things go, thinking that will help you feel better, but the opposite is true. While there can be a little initial relief by giving your morning work-out a miss, you’ll get more long-term benefits by pushing through and doing it. 

By making these habits the non-negotiables of your lifestyle you’ll be able to handle more stress when you need to. Good stress-reducing habits will make it possible for you to operate better in high-stress environments. 

Everyone goes through periods of high stress at some point in their life. Good stress-reducing habits will help you through these periods, but you should always look at the bigger picture. Why are you under so much pressure? Are you on a learning curve, dealing with something new, or managing something out of the ordinary? Under these circumstances, the period of overstress will be limited. You’ll eventually get back to less stress. 

If you’re stressed over something that’s a long-term part of your life and is likely to always be there, you need to start addressing the underlying causes. A great place to start with that is by downloading our Needs Profile Questionnaire in the sidebar.

To everyone who is reading this post we wish you the happiest holidays you can create. It can be a stressful time of year but it’s also a beautiful and special time of year that can be rewarding and rejuvenating if we let it. 

Best Wishes

Deb and Jeff

How to Deal with Stress and Anxiety Effectively

The Power of your Thoughts

Thoughts are Things...Important Things

The Power of your thoughts can empower or disempower you.

Empowering thoughts help you to take charge of your life. They’re necessary for you to make empowered choices. Empowered choices are the result of empowering thoughts and draw to you what you really want in your life. True empowerment comes about when you effectively convert intention into action.

When life is peaceful, predictable, and going along nicely it seems like you’re in control and you’re reasonably happy. When life seems out of control you can quickly shift into feeling stressed and anxious and your happiness can jump right out the window. The pandemic is one of those things that has thrown many people off course in alarming ways.

Using Your Time to the Fullest

Time is your most precious resource, the most precious thing you have to work with. Without time you have nothing else. So why would you waste any of it stressing out about things that you have no control over?

Knowing that upsetting yourself over things outside of your control is unwise, is one thing. Being able to manage your thoughts so that you aren’t unduly upset is another and requires self, or personal empowerment

The idea that your stress levels and emotions are the direct result of your thoughts, is relatively new. It’s easy to blame situations and other people for your emotions. You may even think it’s justified but by taking responsibility for your thoughts and the emotional results of those thoughts, you are empowering yourself to make better use of your time. Better use of your time means you will have so much more control over your life.

It’s OK to spend some time in sadness, worry, stress, fear, or anxiety. If you can accept that those feelings are the result of past and/or present thoughts, and just be with them in acceptance and compassion you will move on far more quickly. Buying into those emotions and creating new disempowering thoughts will keep you stuck in them for much longer.

Taking Responsibility for your Thoughts

Taking responsibility for your thoughts is the first step to increasing the control you have over yourself. The next step can be even more challenging because it requires consistent work. Work that ultimately only you can do.

Decide which thoughts serve you and will get you where you want to go. Hang onto those thoughts tightly. Put them up on post-it notes around your workspace or on your fridge. These thoughts are the foundation from which you can use to create more positive thoughts.

You may be surprised when you start observing your thoughts. They’re likely to be far more negative and critical than you expected. Sometimes you’ll want to give into them. But what will help you take charge of your life is to challenge them. Challenge them with thoughts that are believable. You probably won’t be able to believe that you’re amazing at something. There will always be people that are better than you. But you can believe that you’re good enough.

…but What if I’m not Good Enough?

This is the underlying thought that undoes so many people. Don’t let it undo you. It’s a thought that won’t serve you. Keep reminding yourself that you are good enough. Keep reading your post-it notes, ask other people who you respect for their opinions. If the thought persists, at some point, you’ll need to confront it if you want to use your thoughts to empower yourself.

Of course you’re good enough, everybody is. This thought is probably coming up for you in just one or two areas of your life. Take some time to evaluate the thought. Imagine an old-fashioned set of scales. Put this thought on one side and all the evidence you have to the contrary on the other side.

If your scales tilt towards the side of “I’m not good enough,” then re-evaluate what you’re trying to do. There’s no point pushing ahead with something that you have a strong underlying belief can’t work. But there are things you can do that may balance out your scales, or even better, tilt them in your favour.

  • Skill development to increase your confidence
  • Re-think your journey in a way that may work better for you
  • Enlist more support
  • Do our Needs Profile Questionnaire in the sidebar to make sure you are meeting your most important needs

Pushing Forward with your Best Thoughts

The scales are a great visual reminder of what’s true for you, but maybe with more information, it will no longer be true. That doesn’t matter. That’s something for the future.

Right now, if your scales tilt towards the positive evidence that you are good enough, then align your thoughts and get going. You can re-evaluate later and maybe change course if necessary. But right now, use your evidence to create more thoughts that put you in control of whatever you’re trying to do.

Create a Mindset that Serves you

You’ve probably heard the word mindset bandied around a lot lately. But what does it actually mean? There are lots of complex definitions, but mindset is simply the way you think about things. The set of beliefs you’ve developed according to your life experiences and influences. These beliefs create the material for your thoughts.

Some mindsets will serve you a lot better than others. If you believe that your success, or lack of it, is the result of innate traits and talents you’re limiting your potential. Believing that your success is based on the choices you make, learning, and determination, gives you have a much wider platform on which to succeed.

How does Mindset Affect Self Empowerment?

Mindset is now taught in schools. It’s recognised that children who believe they can succeed at most things if they put in enough effort, are more likely to be optimistic and resilient. They’re also more likely to maintain better mental health and achieve better outcomes.

A mindset that serves you, rather than holds you back will interpret challenges and failures as temporary setbacks, feedback, and even see opportunities in them. Having a mindset that doesn’t serve you is more likely to leave you stressed and anxious. You might blame yourself for setbacks, believing that they arise out of your inadequacies. You might believe that you’re just unlucky, or always taken advantage of. Any set of beliefs that doesn’t serve you will get in your way and disempower you.

How to Develop a Mindset that Empowers you

Seeing yourself as limited is not going to empower you. Seeing life as hard and cruel is not going to serve you. Everyone has certain limitations. Life can be harsh, cruel, and unjust at times. Focusing on what you’ve got, what you can do, and what’s right with the world, is going to be far more beneficial than focusing on what you can’t do, what you haven’t got and what’s wrong with the world.

Focus on what you can control and what does work for you. Do your best with that and let the rest go. Choose thoughts that are loving and appreciative of who you are rather than who you or anyone else thinks you should be. Choose thoughts that are loving and appreciative of other people in your life for who they are. Focus on their qualities rather than their shortcomings. Don’t try to change them or even wish they were different.

Appreciate your life as a journey of discovery. Lean into what shows up with curiosity, value your growth whether or not it’s giving you the specific outcomes you were hoping for. This is how you’ll cultivate a mindset that serves you and thoughts that will empower you. You’ll be far more likely to be happy, peaceful and productive.

If you’d like some help with any of this we have an online course called How to Deal Effectively with Stress and Anxiety. We’d love it (and we really do mean LOVE it), if you’d connect with us via the course. We answer all comments personally, or if you’d rather connect privately while you’re doing the course you can email deb at deb.burns@choicepratice.org. Check the course out below.

How to Deal with Stress and Anxiety Effectively
Deb and Jeff

The Best Treatment for Advanced Prostate Cancer?

After my robotic-assisted prostatectomy!

3d rendering robot surgery machine with surgery lights

JEFF …Well! Who would have thought that we would one day be operated on by robots 🤖 with the surgeon looking at a monitor? It really is futuristic right now!

I have recovered remarkably well. There were only 7 small incisions made in my abdomen and the dressings have been removed from those already. My operation began at 12.30 on Monday, and I was returned to my bed at 7.00 pm, so this was no small procedure.

I was up and walking the next day, on solids by the Wednesday and home and seeing clients by Thursday. I have been working every day since then and Deb and I have even launched our affiliate program!

My pain medication since leaving the hospital has been the occasional paracetamol. I am walking 🦿every day, in fact I feel so good I have to be careful not to overdo it.

There’s a lot of healing needing to take place internally where the prostate was removed, the Vas Deferens cut and sealed, and the urethra rejoined. On Monday I will have the catheter removed and will need to learn anew how to control my bladder.

Time to cover the kiddies’ eyes, or gents if you are squeamish, skip down a bit! Upon waking up from the surgery I had testicles the size of a bull elephant, extremely tender, sore, uncomfortable and difficult to manage as they get in the way of everything, nine days later I still have the cowboy walk going on as they have reduced to around twice their normal size and the scrotum is pitch black from bruising…. I wasn’t expecting that!!! 😂

Now for the best news, today my surgeon rang and said the pathology is excellent. Even though I had a Gleeson score of 9 and very advanced cancer, there is no sign that it has escaped the prostate. All the surrounding tissue was clear. I will have PSA tests in January to confirm, but it is all really good news. He said he was really happy, but I assured him, nowhere near as happy as I am.😄🥳

This experience has reaffirmed for me how important it is to focus on what we can control and let go of what we have little or no control over. My surgeon was delighted that I had done everything I could to prepare myself for the surgery and recuperation. I am fit, strong, a healthy weight and, have been practicing my kegel exercises for when the catheter is removed. He said he really appreciates it when it’s a team effort and the patient takes care of their part because the results are so much better.

Whilst I would never wish an experience like prostate cancer on anyone, it remains true that how well we do once we’re diagnosed is to a large degree up to us. In particular, the thoughts, attitudes, and actions we choose will have a huge bearing on how well we get through the experience and recuperate afterwards. I’ll let you know the PSA results when I get them in January.

I consider myself to be a thriver, not merely a survivor. I am enjoying my life to the fullest and looking forward to the next adventure, building partnerships to help spread Choice Theory throughout the world!

…and What can Partners Do?

Deb: Treatment for any kind of cancer, or in fact any form of illness does not begin or end with doctors. A huge part of treatment is a personal responsibility. The responsibility to live a healthy lifestyle, manage your mind, and make informed choices.

When Jeff was first diagnosed I asked him what I could do. He said he wanted me to keep doing what I was already doing. He didn’t want our life to change. He acknowledged that there would be times when I would probably be sad and that was OK too.

Anyone who knows anything about prostate cancer knows that it has a huge impact on the sufferer’s sex life. From the outset, I knew that my ability to deal optimistically with this aspect of Jeff’s diagnosis would be vital to him remaining positive in this arena.

Instead of focusing on what we’ve lost, at least in the first year; I focus on what we’ve had, what we can have, and what we will have again. Of course, there’s a sense of loss in this area and grief is normal. But the main focus of a partner needs to be around behaviours that will help the situation, not cause more harm. Fortunately, prostate cancer is much more likely to affect older men and so the risk of it interfering with fertility is greatly reduced.

A Cancer Journey

Dealing with the day to day outcomes of prostate cancer treatment is challenging. Jeff’s initial diagnosis that his cancer was so advanced without having shown any symptoms came as a shock. Since then however, all our news has been excellent. But what about people who have to deal with the day to day challenges PLUS news that isn’t so great. My heart goes out, especially as my own father died aged forty-two from cancer that started in his lungs.

How do people stay positive with news that their cancer has progressed further than they hoped? I actually don’t know the answer to this. I’m interested to find out however, because I not only have my husband Jeff dealing with prostate cancer but my ex-husband of 28 years has a very serious, probably incurable cancer. I’ve joined some Facebook PC support groups.

Choice theory is an amazing tool for cancer recovery. I can see this first hand in the way that Jeff is handling his cancer versus the way that my father handled his. Most people, in Australia, rely on counseling with the Cancer Council. If anyone has been through this I’d love to hear about it.

Tomorrow is catheter removal day. Jeff has been counting down the days to this but is also anticipating that it will be painful. I’m sure he’ll handle it with the resilience he has handled everything else so far.

If you would like share anything regarding your cancer journey or a loved one’s, we’d love to hear about it.

Thanks for reading


Affiliate Program Marketing

Affiliate Marketing Program

If you have a presence online and you’re re not earning money through affiliate marketing, then you’re leaving money on the table.

Whether you’re a blogger, some kind of online influencer, even a coach or counsellor, you can create an additional income stream through affiliate marketing. And you can do it in a trustworthy and authentic way. But it isn’t as easy as throwing up a review post with some links and hoping for the best. 

It requires the same learning curve and the same commitment that any new income stream would. 

The first step in becoming a successful affiliate is to decide on a sphere of influence you want to be known for. Then only promote products that you genuinely believe will benefit your audience. This way you won’t turn your followers away, you’ll turn them into customers. 

The bottom line in any successful business is to provide usefulness that you can be fairly compensated for. Affiliate marketing is no different. 

Choose products to promote that naturally fit within your brand and then put effort into the promotion. If you don’t have a “brand” start thinking about what a brand might look like for you. What kind of branding would you most like to be associated with.

It makes sense to promote products from people you can build a relationship with. That way it’s more like building partnerships. If you get to the point where you create a product, or have a service that would be useful to their client base, they’re likely to promote you. 

You can do guest posts for each other with sign-up forms on each other’s sites. Interviewing each other on podcasts is another good way to create synergy between your brands. 

Perhaps you’ve tried affiliate marketing in the past, or you’re trying it now with limited success? Why not change it up and see what happens? What have you got to lose?

Invest some time researching products and services that you think would be useful to your audience if you have one. If you don’t have an audience yet, think about your ideal audience and what would benefit them. 

BUT REMEMBER THIS!!! If you are looking for a niche, BEFORE you commit, make sure that others in that niche are making good money in it. It’s hard enough starting out ….  starting where no one has gone before is not something you want to try. 

Not all niches are created equal. Pick something you have a passion for, that other’s are profitable in, that fits with your brand and that has the opportunity for growing needs. Building a business is a lot of work, you want to be able to grow with your customers and keep offering them products and services that they need. And that they’re willing to pay for. 

The Personal Development Niche?

Richard Bach: “You teach best what you most need to learn.” This quote highlights what a great niche personal development is. You get to develop your audience at the same time as you develop yourself. It’s a niche that’s endlessly interesting and can be targeted to more specific audiences like parenting, seniors, entrepreneurs, mental health, the law of attraction. The possibilities are huge!

If this sounds like something you’re interested in, or that you’re already in and our partnership philosophy sits well with you, we’d love to partner with you.

We’ve just opened up our online course “How to Deal with Stress and Anxiety Effectively” to affiliates. If you’re interested in learning more you can click the button to sign up.

We also have just released a bundle of new PLR content to support sales of our course but also for anyone in MMO, Parenting, Productivity, Wellbeing, and Law of Attraction Niches. Sign up as an affiliate, use your link to buy it and you’re effectively getting it at half price! This material is brand new and hasn’t been widely promoted. If you get in now it’s like having your own articles because you might be the first to use a post. For a few cents you can run the posts through Copyscape to see which ones haven’t been used yet. Click the button to check that offer out. There’s an example of the quality of the posts on that page.

If you have any questions you can leave a comment and we’ll get back to you asap.

Thanks for reading