3 Tips: Understand Your Personality to Combat Stress this Holiday Season

3 Tips: Understand Your Personality to Combat Stress this Holiday Season

The joys of the holidays can be stressful, for some of us more than others.  Personality shapes the way we celebrate and how we cope with expectations and pressures  — especially around the holidays. Whether due to work’s shortened deadlines and increased consumer demands, or the pressures on your social calendar as family and friends prepare to celebrate, the holidays aren’t always easy. 

Knowing yourself – and understanding your personality traits – can help you combat stress and find your inner bliss this holiday season. Start with these three tips:

1. Use your personality to your advantage

We all have inherent abilities to cope with stress, but some of us are more “hard-wired” to stay calm in times of stress than others.  We all naturally gravitate to different ways we like to spend our precious holiday time off. Understanding what traits will help you meet your tight deadlines or buy the groceries on time can help us through stressful situations. For example:

Regimented – Individuals who are highly regimented are planners and list makers. They make the itineraries to figure out the details and maximize the fun! Lean into your inner Monica Geller to get all your holiday tasks done on time or partner with someone who wants to take on these organizational tasks to plan the gathering for your clan.

Spontaneous – Individuals who are highly spontaneous are great improvisers. They will find ways around the lack of turkey at the supermarket, or how to meet a deadline on a last-minute project before heading out the door. They can find creative solutions by adapting on the fly. Lean into your spontaneous side when you hit roadblocks this season!

Conventional – Individuals who are highly conventional often love the traditions of the holidays. A major change in your life, like relocating to a new city or embracing your in-laws’ way of celebrating the season might throw you. Give yourself time in the lead up to the holidays to adjust, and incorporate the traditions that means the most to you!

2. Reduce situations that will drain your energy

Everyone experiences holiday events differently. Recognize the activities and events that you love, and also notice what drains your energy:

Reserved – Individuals who are reserved may need time to themselves to rejuvenate over the holidays. Parties may be more exhausting than celebratory, especially those with lots of people around. Limit the number you attend, or find a way to take part for just an hour or two… and make sure to prioritize downtime afterwards to recharge.

Empathetic – Individuals who are highly empathetic may strive to satisfy everyone. Pleasing all of your family, colleagues and friends around the holidays is likely an impossible task. Be mindful of when the needs or expectations of others are being put ahead of your own and recognize your own needs as well.

Achievement-Focused – Individuals who are achievement-focused have very high expectations of themselves. You may ask more of yourself than you can possibly meet during the short holidays. Maybe it’s OK to buy your holiday cards this year, instead of hand painting one for each friend and family member.  

3. Understand how you interact with opposing traits when stress is high

Let’s face it, the holidays can mean an influx of people into your personal space. Whether that’s extended family, visiting friends, or co-workers, these interactions may be the highlights of your year or sources of stress (or both!)  To keep the spirit of the season a positive one, it’s important to understand how your dominant personality traits interact with another’s dominant traits. Top sources of conflict can arise from the following:

High Dominant vs. High Dominant – As a highly dominant individual, relatives or co-workers with the same personality trait may become your biggest challenge around the holidays. Be aware of what situations you can lead, and when to relinquish control. Fighting over how to set the table at your mother’s house may be a battle you need to forfeit in order to keep the peace this season!

Calm vs. Reactive – Reactive individuals are responsive to stress, and have a strong sense of urgency. Situations, like being stuck in traffic and arriving late for a turkey dinner, can be very stressful. Naturally reactive people may not understand why a calm individual isn’t feeling that same sense of urgency, and this tension can lead to conflict. Alternatively, an individual who is naturally calmer can irritate a reactive person by telling them to relax. Work together to find the best solution by appreciating Reactive’s responsiveness, and Calm’s ability to think clearly to find a solution.

Reserved vs. Outgoing – Outgoing people may honestly believe “the more the merrier!” and forget that not everyone feels the same way. Being sensitive to this helps you resist the temptation to overcommit your reserved partner this holiday season. Attending five different holiday dinners with friends, colleagues and family may wear down a reserved individual. Those who are highly outgoing thrive on social interaction, and may not understand why it’s such an effort for others. 

Want to find out more? Review your dominant personality traits to understand how best to manage your stress around the holidays and into the New Year. Don’t let a deadline surprise you, or a turkey go amiss! Stay calm out there and enjoy this holiday season.

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