Don’t Panic

The Halloween decorations have come down, and the last traces of your Dia de los Muertos makeup have finally come off your pillowcase. November is here in full effect, and so are the beginnings of the annual holiday panic.

So don’t panic. Seriously. Panic is a fight or flight response, and it’s notorious for shutting down (or at least hindering) the part of your brain responsible for long term planning and the ability to see the big picture. You know, planning and forethought? The things within your power that can help fight the panic? Unfair, I know, but true.

So what’s going on that’s setting off the alarm bells for you? People coming to visit? Cooking? Travel? Stressful social interaction? Whatever is setting you on edge is only going to ramp up as the holidays crank ever closer, so take a nice deep breath, think about whatever it is you need to get things done or cope with the onslaught, and then make your plan. Make your plan with small steps. Miniscule, even. Keep the steps in your plan small enough that you can do them without much thought or effort at all. The idea is to glide, as best you can, through this stretch, not set up some Rube Goldberg routine for yourself to get down about if you miss a step.

Just remember, when you feel the panic creeping up your spine and digging its claws deep into your lizard brain, take a deep breath and think about your plan. Focus on that plan. Latch on to the smallest possible next step in that plan, and then do it. Repeat as necessary.