Dealing with Holiday Stress

Friday, November 9, 2018

The holiday season can be a stressful time and include a lot of different things that can contribute to your stress level. While short-term stress can be beneficial, such as performing well in a big presentation, but long-term stress can hurt your health. Follow these tips to help reduce your stress level as we finish the year.

Recognize Stress

Before you can deal with stress, you first need to recognize it. You may know when you’re getting stressed, due to symptoms or because it happens around the same time every year. If you don’t think you’re stressed but you have the following symptoms, you may want to reconsider: difficulty concentrating, wanting to be alone or socialize less than normal, eating more or less than normal, sleeping more or less than normal, or feeling angry, irritable, sad, or frustrated.

General Stress-Reduction Trips

Say no. You do not have to be the person who organizes the holiday party every year. Someone else can do it this year.

Relax your standards.
The house does not have to look like a TV commercial when guests come for a holiday meal. Focus on just tidying and maintaining a basic level of cleanliness in the area where the guests are, and feel free to pile the paperwork you need to scan in a closet. Your children’s friends will enjoy the holiday cookies just as much if the icing isn’t perfect.

Spend time with people who support you. Spending time together in person is the best. Help each other clean for a holiday, or buy holiday decorations together. If you’re away from home for the holiday and need support, calls, texts, video chat, etc. are all useful ways to connect. Feel free to duck out of stressful events for 5 minutes to text a family member or friend who can offer you words of encouragement.

Exercise.
If you’re stressed by the environment you’re in, taking a walk or going to the gym can remove you from that environment. Depending on the weather, you may be able to exercise outside and enjoy the fresh air.

If the Stress Continues

If the stress you have is preventing you from doing things you need to do or from enjoying life, talk to your primary care provider about treatment options like therapy or medication.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health