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7 Ways to Manage Holiday Stress

Updated: Feb 10, 2023

The holidays are approaching quickly and it can be a very stressful time of the year due to many different demands -cooking meals, entertaining, shopping, holiday travel, and many other things. Stress and depression can intensify during this time of year which can have detrimental effects on your health. Holiday stress symptoms can affect your body in many ways including: anxiety, body aches, irritability, headaches, inability to sleep, and sadness This can weaken your immune system and make you vulnerable to illness and other health conditions. There are several ways to deal with holiday stress: be realistic, set a budget, maintain healthy eating habits, plan ahead, practice self-care, stay active, and don't be afraid to say no. These strategies will be explained in further detail below:

Be Realistic: The holidays can be a time that can cause stress due to the fact that we often have a mental picture of the "perfect" family gathering, or keeping traditions in place that may be difficult to maintain. Being able to adapt to changes and make new traditions can be a good way to reduce stress levels around the holidays. Practice gratitude and find the positive side that can come about with change.

Set a Budget and Stick to it: Finances can be a huge source of stress during the holidays. Some alternatives are to do a family gift exchange, making a homemade gift, or making a donation to a charity in someone's name.

Maintain Healthy Eating Habits:

Overindulgence in holiday food and drink can add to our guilt and stress. Some suggestions

for keeping on track are: eating a healthy snack before holiday outings will help curb cravings, stay hydrated , and eat small meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism working properly.

Plan Ahead: Make sure to write down what you need to do and prioritize the most important things. Make sure to factor in things like increased holiday traffic, increased social commitments, and last-minute shopping that may derail your plans over the holidays. Creating an action plan will help reduce your level of holiday stress.

Practice self-care: Set aside time for yourself to do things that you enjoy. It's sometimes difficult to focus on ourselves during the holidays, but it is vital. Make sure to get adequate sleep, get outside and take a walk, read a book, or whatever allows you to relax and unwind. Making yourself a priority will allow you to be there for others.

Stay Active: Regular exercise can help improve mood by increasing levels of dopamine, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain. Exercise can also help regulate neurotransmitter levels that can help decrease stress levels. It helps to produce a feeling of physical well-being and can help improve self-esteem. It can often be difficult to make time to exercise during the holidays due to a busy schedule, but set aside some time in your schedule to do something active. It will help keep your stress levels down during the busy holiday season.

Don't Be Afraid to Say No:Saying yes all the time can leave you feeling overwhelmed and resentful. It's impossible to do everything and be everywhere during the holidays. Saying no to things is ok and people will understand. It is more important to maintain your health and well-being. Saying no to some things is ok, prioritize what is important to you and use that as your guide to keep you on track.

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