Managing Holiday Stress

December 6, 2016

‘Tis the season when our senses are are on overload from food, parties, gifts, and everything else that makes the season exciting and fraught. Year after year millions of us have “turned it up to 11” during the season. We get overbooked, fight crowds, add 10 pounds, and try to grin and bear it all the while. Indeed many of us can’t wait for these happy holidays to be done already. What to do?

Well for starters you know that you’re not alone. We found very helpful information from a credible and respected resource. Have a look at the myriad ways suggested by the good people at Cleveland Clinic to manage your holiday stress. We have reprinted some of the highlights below, and our hope is that some of these tips can help you dial it down from 11.

Holiday shopping

  • Ask people what they want instead of scouring the earth to find the “perfect” gifts.
  • Shop early, when there is more of a selection.
  • Stick to your gift budget.

Planning family get-togethers

  • Buy prepared foods, instead of cooking everything from scratch.
  • Ask others to bring their favorite dishes.
  • Cook and freeze foods ahead of time.

Scheduling time with family and friends

  • Simplify holiday commitments and traditions. Discuss with your family which traditions are most important to you and to them. It’s okay to re-evaluate past traditions.
  • Allow time for yourself. Remember to do things that you enjoy.
  • Avoid time crunches by making plans to visit some friends and family soon after the holidays.
  • Don’t over-schedule yourself. Allow enough time to relax and recover after visiting with others.
  • Tell family members about your commitments so you are not struggling against their expectations.
  • Travel after rush hour. When driving long distances, give yourself time to stop and rest.

Pausing before the holiday spread

  • Avoid overeating and overdrinking, especially alcoholic beverages.
  • Avoid starving yourself in anticipation of eating at holiday parties. This approach can lead to eating too much of the wrong foods.
  • Continue to exercise and watch your diet.

Managing your time

  • Set priorities and let go of impossible goals.
  • Stop to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
  • Don’t spend all of your time planning activities for your family. You might end up feeling drained and unappreciated.
  • Take the time you need to finish tasks that are important to you. Don’t try to complete everything at once.
  • Ask others, including the kids, to help you complete chores.
  • Rest when your body tells you to.

For the full Cleveland Clinic article along with article citations, please click here.

So as we get into the full swing of the holidays, let’s all take steps toward better self-care.

And by the way, did you know that massage has been proven to reduce the concentration of stress hormones in the bloodstream? In fact the Mayo Clinic – another venerated name in medical field – reported on studies that find massage may be helpful in reducing anxiety, ameliorating digestive disorders, helping with insomnia related to stress, and relieving headaches, symptoms which all routinely show up during the holiday season. To learn more, check out one of our recent posts about the positive effects of massage.

Following some simple steps can help reduce your stress levels and help you get back to enjoying the holidays. And dessert – in moderation of course – can’t hurt either.

Happy Holidays!

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