Fairfield County Integrative Family Medicine, Trumbull, CT
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  Home » Newsletter » Tips On How To Manage Stress During The Holiday Season, December 2012
 

Tips On How To Manage Stress During The Holiday Season

Tips On How To Manage Stress During The Holiday Season’Tis the season to be…stressed? The holiday season is supposed to be a time of heighten joy and merriment. The lights, the parties, spending time with family and friends should bring a smile to everyone’s face. Unfortunately, the same things that bring us joy can also bring us stress and anxiety. Realistically, the dizzying array of parties, baking, shopping, decorating and wrapping that needs to get done on top of already jam-packed schedules can send many into a tailspin. The pressure and guilt of not being able to get everything done can turn the most wonderful time of the year into the most anxious one. In addition to overloaded schedules, we often put unrealistic expectations on ourselves to make everything “perfect” — finding the perfect gift, decorating the perfect tree and baking the perfect cookies. All this does is give us even more pressure and increases the likelihood that we may end up disappointed.

We’d like to offer some tips and strategies you can use to help minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. Keeping your stress level to a minimum is important not only to help you enjoy the season, but because the connection between stress and illness is real.

  1. Be realistic. There is no such thing as the perfect Christmas, Hanukkah, or other holiday celebration. Something (or many things) will likely go wrong during the holidays. Preparing for the inevitable missteps will help them seem less catastrophic when they happen. A tree that leans a little or burning a batch of cookies won’t ruin the entire celebration.
  2. Gift giving. For large families, shopping for 15 people or more can be difficult. Besides figuring out what to get everyone, it can be expensive. Consider simplifying gift giving by picking names out of a hat. Each person can then be responsible for a gift to the one family member they pick. Some families might decide to buy just for the children. Avoid the headache of standing in long lines and fighting for a parking spot at the mall by shopping online.
  3. Plan ahead. Mark your calendar with specific days for baking, wrapping, shopping and other activities. Plan your menus and make your shopping list. You’ll feel more in control by tackling one day at a time.
  4. Give yourself a time out. Everyone needs some alone time to unwind and regroup. Carving out even just 15 minutes a day without distractions, can refresh you enough to help you tackle you to-do list. Relax by regularly practicing yoga, meditation, mindfulness, listening to soothing music, taking a walk, or reading.
  5. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling overwhelmed and resentful. Don’t overbook yourself and explain to family and friends that while you’re busy now, you’d like set time aside after the holidays to spend quality time with them.
  6. Eat, drink and be merry … in moderation. It’s difficult not to overindulge this time of year. The elaborate displays of food and alcoholic beverages at all the holiday parties can be quite tempting. Remind yourself before you attend an event that overeating and drinking is not only unhealthy, but you’ll be left to deal with the guilt and the weight gain long after the decorations are put away — giving you another added stress.

This holiday season, don’t be too hard on yourself, plan and organize your time, don’t overextend yourself and give yourself some “me” time to unwind and regroup.

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