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Five musts to be merry this holiday

The Christmas City of the North Parade kicked off the holiday season for Northlanders. Now we are in the thick of holiday activities. Even though this is a time of celebration, many people find it stressful.

Here are five techniques to help you enjoy the holidays and minimize your stressors.

Be intentional. Be deliberate on what you want to happen. What activities will you take part in and what will you forgo? For instance, if you go to a party, decide in advance how late you will stay or how much you will eat or drink. For your gift-giving, determine ahead of time how much you will spend. That way you will feel in control because you are taking charge of the situation.

Avoid comparisons. Many of us tend to compare ourselves to others. We assume they have got it all together and are enjoying a "picture perfect" holiday. When we do this, we tend to put ourselves down and judge ourselves. Who needs that? As Bill Gates said, "Don't compare yourself with anyone in this world ... If you do so, you are insulting yourself."

Focus on what is in your control. Focus on what you can control and don't waste energy on the things you cannot. We cannot control the weather, economy or other people's actions. But we can control what captures our focus, actions and attitudes. When in a situation that is problematic, ask yourself, "What do I have control over in this situation?" Then focus your thoughts, energy and activity there. You will find you will become more empowered to proceed.

Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Because time is finite, you cannot add more to your life without cutting something else out. Before saying yes, ask yourself, "Where will the time come from for me to do this?"

Do, delegate or ditch. Use this technique as a decision-making tool to either do something yourself, enlist the help of others or decide not to do it at all. That way you are empowered and can avoid being overwhelmed.

Happy holidays!

Pam Solberg-Tapper, MHSA, PCC is a leadership coach and professional development speaker who resides in Duluth. She provides the tools and motivation to help her clients improve their professional performance as well as their quality of life.  

Pam Solberg-Tapper

Pam Solberg-Tapper, president of Coach for Success Inc., is a Duluth-based executive coach, professional speaker and adventure marathoner. For questions or to submit questions or ideas for future columns, please contact her at or (218) 729-0772.