It’s called the “most wonderful time of the year”, but for some, including me, it’s the most stressful time, as well. Here are some frequently asked questions about Holiday Stress and ways you can keep it at bay.
* What causes holiday stress?
People usually eat, drink, and spend too much money around the holidays. And there are so many activities…shopping, cooking, partying, holiday cards…you can end up feeling frazzled. Also, this is a time for big family gatherings, which aren’t always all fun and games. For people who don’t see their family or for people without a family, it can be a very lonely time of year.
*What can stress – holiday or otherwise – do to your body?
Chronic stress can increase your risk for a wide variety of health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, skin disorders, stomach problems, anxiety, depression and insomnia. So adding holiday stress on top of your chronic stress only makes matters worse.
* What can people do to reduce emotional stress?
Recognize that you’re feeling it. Understand that if you’ve lost a loved one that it’s normal to feel sad this time of year and that it’s ok to cry and express your feelings. Don’t put pressure on yourself to feel giddy and festive just because it’s the holidays. And if you’re feeling lonely or isolated, reach out to family, friends, your church, or community organizations. Volunteering can also lift your spirits and get you out with other people.
* How about financial stress?
Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget! Don’t try to buy happiness with tons of gifts or presents you can’t afford. Instead of buying something for everyone, pick a Secret Santa to help contain costs. Or just buy for the children, and not the adults, in your family.
* The holidays bring out the perfectionist in a lot of us – what can we do to fight that?
Realize your don’t have to be perfect. Do the best you can but don’t expect everything to be just right. Plan ahead and make lists but be realistic about what you can get done in the next couple of weeks. Try to maintain some family traditions but be open to trying others as well.
* Why is eating such a challenge over the holidays?
Cookies, candy, fruit and nut cakes, eggnog, alcohol…we often eat too much of a good thing around Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah and New Year’s. Have you forgotten the turkey, roasts, hams, and all the fixings that we not only had a few weeks ago but are likely to have again over the next few weeks, too?
*What can you do to keep from eating too much?
Don’t go to a party hungry. Watch your portion control. Practice mindful eating. Sample, don’t indulge. And don’t forget to exercise, which will help reduce your stress and keep your weight in control, too.
* Is it ok to give yourself a time out?
It’s a must. Take care of yourself so you can take care of others and manage the chaos. Spend some alone time, read a book, get a massage, listen to your favorite music, go for a walk. You’re gonna need to recharge your batteries so you can do all of those things you shouldn’t be trying to do in the first place : )
Back to Headlines