Reduce Stress During the Holidays

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December 2013

Reducing stress during the holidays is a lot like reducing stress during other parts of the year, just more important because the stakes are higher. Here are some tips to see you through.

  1. Change It Up. Holidays can be full of joy, but can also be tough reminders when dealing with the loss of a loved one. Don’t be afraid to change your traditions. If certain activities are really painful because they remind you too much of a recent loss, do something else. Start a new tradition.  
  2. Walk or Run Outside. Regular exercise is a natural mood lifter. A brisk walk or comfortable run for 30 minutes a day can have a great impact on your mood (and your waistline).
  3. Get to Bed Early. Making sure you get enough sleep gives you the energy you need to handle holiday craziness. Sleep has also been shown to improve memory, spur creativity, and even improve cardiovascular health.
  4. Less is More. Sometimes the stress we feel during the holidays is our own fault. We often have more to do, so we try to fit too much into our lives. Prioritize your responsibilities and consider cutting out some of the activities that aren’t essential. Do less. Enjoy more.
  5. Strive for Wonderful, Not Perfect. If the details are making you crazy, let them go. Focus on enjoying the process. Look for a wonderful gift, not a perfect one. See if you can find a beautiful decoration, not a perfect one. Appropriate expectations can help reduce stress.
  6. Put Electronic Interrupters Away. During gatherings, ask everyone to turn off their cell phones. Focus on one another. Don’t let interruptions ruin the festivities.
  7. Don’t Overindulge. It’s easy to overeat or over drink during the holidays. Overindulging can make you feel terrible physically, and sometimes emotionally, too.
  8. Fight Loneliness By Volunteering. For people who do not have loved ones nearby, the holidays can feel lonely. Consider volunteering at a local shelter of food bank. You’ll spend time with others, and make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.
  9. Get Outside in the Sunshine. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that affects a small percentage of the population during fall and winter months (when the days are shorter). If you feel listless and moody for months at a time, you may want to consider seeking professional help. Treatment can include light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy and medication.
  10. Practice Random Acts of Kindness. Improve someone else’s day by doing something nice for a stranger. You may find that the person who benefits the most is you!

If you feel you need help managing your stress, give us a call!

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