With the holidays quickly approaching and to-do lists growing longer, perhaps you may be feeling a bit frazzled. Making it worse, stress has a way of making you, well, more stressed.
This extra anxiety and tension can cause stress hormones to enter your blood stream. If the source of stress goes away, the chemical levels will subside. But if your body is constantly reacting to stress, it can put you at risk with real health dangers, including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Stress can zap your energy, make you feel restless, irritable and discontent, and increase your susceptibility to illness or disease.
Maintaining healthy habits, planning ahead and taking a few minutes out of your day to focus on relaxation can help you manage your stress levels this holiday season.
1. Maintain Healthy Habits
Don’t let the holidays get the best of the healthy habits you worked hard to establish all year. Try the following:
- Eat a healthy snack before holiday parties. This will fill you up a bit, helping you to resist enjoying too many appetizers and sweet treats.
- Drink more water instead of sugary beverages.
- Rest as much as possible. Even a 15 minute nap can make a difference.
- Stay in your workout routine.
2. Plan Ahead
Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Planning will help prevent last-minute scrambling.
3. Stick to a Budget
Set a budget that works for your financial situation this year. Decide how much money you can afford to spend and then stick to your budget.
4. Take a Break
It’s easy to get wrapped up in everything going on around you and forget about doing what’s best for you. Escape with a book before you start preparing dinner. Listen to calming music. Step away from stress, literally, with a walk outside.
5. Seek Professional Help
If you’re feeling the pressure this holiday season, please know you’re not alone. Many people don’t think about turning to their family doctor to help cope with stress and anxiety. We invite you to come in and meet with one of our qualified family physicians. Our compassionate professionals can help suggest lifestyle changes or prescribe medication when necessary. For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our mental health professionals, please click here.