Posted in Time Management

Beat Stress During The Holiday Season - By Gail Kasper

Gail Kasper is an Author, Television Host, Certified Fitness Trainer, and Motivational Speaker


SAD-T Exercise:


SAD-T is Gail's proprietary system which helps you get your life on track, steering from negative emotion to a logical system that will help you elevate your attitude, eliminate stress, and achieve results.  


4th Quarter Holiday Crunch:

Quiz:  Rate Your Holiday Stress Factor

Using a Scale of 1-5 where 5 represents the situations which bring you the greatest stress, grade yourself in the following areas:


1.  Budgeting for Gifts_

2.  Shopping        

3.  Visiting Family          

4.  Attending too many Holiday Parties

5.  Throwing a Holiday Party

6.  Making the Holiday Dinner

7.  Traveling        

8.  Decorating        

9.  Taking time off from work



If you answered 4 or 5 to any of the above, you must have a system for managing the emotion, also known as stress.  Below is your SAD-T 5-Step Plan to manage your stress levels most in these areas.  



SAD-T 5-Steps for Lowering Holiday Stress: START NOW!


1.  Budgeting for Gifts

-How much will you begin saving 'now' per paycheck? 


-Where can you cut costs over the next few months? (The cost of a latte is $4.25)


-What is your goal $ amount. 


-Which groups may enable Pollyanna?


-If you must use a credit card, what is the maximum amount you will charge? (Make it minimal.)


-Identify a specific dollar limit on gifts. (The holidays should be about 'you' not your gift. If you find that you are willing to risk your own well-being financially, you must work on your own self esteem. Actions, such as these, will ultimately make you feel bad about yourself and stagnate your life.)  



2.  Shopping

-Create your list and estimate a dollar amount per gift / per person. 


-Identify the stores for which you will shop.


-Identify on-line opportunities or gift card opportunities. (Small dollar amounts are sometimes best distributed through gift cards for coffee.  These retailers might include Wawa, Dunkin Donuts, or Starbucks. My favorite is Wawa.



3.  Visiting Family

-Decide the options. Where do you want to spend your holiday? If you must go, don't dwell on the situation ahead of time, as this will only increase the amount of stress.


-Who is your ally / allies at the family event? These are the people for which you will spend the majority of your time. They are safe and make you feel good.  No ally, are kids, nieces, or nephews present? Kids are a great break from the real world of adults. Is it an option to spend time with them?


-Do not get involved in discussions that you know will result in arguments.  We all typically know our family taboos. Stay as far away from this issues as possible. If someone else engages, walk away. I am certain there are other conversations worth engaging at the party.


-Use the tube! If you are left without an ally, there is always a good game on television. This is a great way to converse on the most superficial level.  


-Most importantly, avoid thinking! Thinking enrages the emotion when you plan is to take logical steps to escape this trap.



4.  Attending Holiday Parties

-Make your selections early. Is it more critical to go to a work event than a friend's party?  Is it more important to visit a sick friend, than a peer's event? Don't wait, choose!


-RSVP immediately and know that it's okay to turn someone down. What's most important is that you let people know as early as possible so that they can plan their party.  


-Ask for options with regard to what you can bring. This will open the door to simplicity with regard to bringing food or a bottle of wine. If your schedule is crunched, let the host know. Most will be flexible with regard to what to bring, but you have to tell them.


-Identify baby sitters, directions, and time schedules ahead of time, particularly if you have more than one event to attend in an evening. Make the night as easy as possible.  



Throwing a Holiday Party

-What's the party budget? Do not deviate from the budget. When you have identified the budget, you can work around it by identify what others will bring, who can help with the set up, and how the party will function. 


-Who's coming? Send invitations 6 weeks in advance and require an RSVP.  If people understand that it is imperative to RSVP, you are more likely to get a response. Food and drink requirements as well as gifting options must be considered and will all add last-minute stress.


-What will each person bring? Give them options to make your menu easier (too often we feel that we have to have the perfect menu). Make it fun and set a theme with regard to food: Mexican, Italian, or American features. Set the date and time. Do it early to avoid the holiday crunch. Some prefer to have a holiday party after the holiday to ensure that everyone can show.  



Making the Holiday Dinner

-Who's coming?  Make the list and verify attendance. This will help you define food costs and who will help with food preparation. It is a critical step in the holiday meal process. 


 -What will each person bring? Give them a specific task related to their strength. Asking someone to create a fancy side dish who doesn't cook, will easily translate to macaroni and cheese. Instead, this person may be best to bring the salad or dessert.  




-Prepare to make a list. When family is traveling there are so many odds and ends, the stress gets higher when we forget things and must make last minute adjustments.


 -When are you leaving? What is the length of your trip? Get it in your schedule immediately. You will be forced to start the planning process. 


-How soon can you purchase tickets? 


-Make a list and pack light no matter what. Pack what you need, not what you 'may' need.  So often we overload a big bag, anticipating what we 'may' need and the clothing never gets worn. If you are flying, print your boarding pass through the computer, ahead of time. 


-Use a checklist to prepare for your childrens needs.



-Don't feel bad about making it simple.  Of course, if you'd like to spend the day decorating, then do it, but it isn't necessary.  It?óÔé¼Ôäós your time so do with it, what you'd like. 


-Decide the day and time and get others involved with respect to their ideas.  


-Decide what you'd like to do. Which room or rooms will be decorated, which decorations you will use, what you have in stock and what you need to purchase. 


-What's your budget for new decorations? Is Wal-Mart a consideration? Or target? 


-Make it fun. Invite friends or family to help. Turn the time into a small, casual party. 


Taking time off from work.  

-Its a necessity, especially if you are owed time.


-Plan your time away. Give your boss and peers plenty of notice. Decide who will cover for you. Your voicemail should include a contact name and extension. Leave detailed notes and explain that you will not be available during this time.  


-Family must come first during holidays. Whenever the idea of work creeps into your mind, distract yourself. Thinking about work will only increase your stress level. The business will survive while you are gone. Take this time to recoup, regroup, and open your mind to new creative ideas.  


About Gail Kasper: 

Mid-1998, Gail Kasper started her business from a  small one-bedroom apartment, with no money and no clients. Today, Gail  is the host of the late-night television show Raw Reality, one of the  nation's leading speakers, author, Top 1% Club Mentor, advice  columnist, Certified Fitness Trainer, Ms. Continental America 2008,  and the creator of SAD-T™ (Systematic Attitude Development- Technique™). A former Contributing Editor to Success Magazine with the  "Ask Gail" column and host of the "Ask Gail" segment on the Comcast  morning show, Gail is the author of her self-help autobiography  Another Day Without A Cage: My Breakthrough From Self-Imprisonment To  Total Empowerment and the self-help parable Unstoppable: 6 Easy Steps  To Achieve Your Goals. With national media appearances that include  Inside Edition, The Today Show, FOX Business News, and Oprah and  Friends, Gail has earned the ranking of an in-demand national media  personality who has been the topic of discussion on Regis and Kelly.  Also, the current host of the Philadelphia Visitors Channel, she has  also made numerous appearances on network affiliates that include ABC,  FOX, CW11, Comcast, and CBS, where she co-hosted the Emmy award- winning America's TVJobNetwork.


This article is courtesy of the Top 1% Club and the Top 1% Club Mentor Gail Kasper. For additional information on Gail Kasper, her television appearances and speaking engagements, please visit