Managing Stress During the Holiday Season

The holiday season can be one of the best times of the year, but it can get pretty stressful traveling to be with family, making sure meals are cooked, and purchasing and wrapping gifts. An American Psychological Association poll reported 8 out of 10 individuals expected to experience increased stress levels during the holiday season. Too much stress and anxiety can lead to depression, which can really throw a kink into your holiday plans.

Here are some tips that might be helpful in managing stress so it doesn’t weigh you down during the holidays and into the New Year:

  1. Set a spending budget. It is hard to avoid spending money during the holidays since it is a time of giving, but you can control how much you spend. Sit down and take a look at your finances and set an appropriate budget, and stick to it. Don’t let the desire to shower your loved ones with gifts get in the way of next month’s bills.
  2. Keep exercising! Physical exercise is one of the best ways to shed stress and get your head back in the game. Get those endorphins pumping, and they will help improve your mood and reduce your anxiety.
  3. Don’t over-plan. A big trigger for anxiety and stress is stretching yourself too thin. Take a step back and plan to make things as simple as you can. Don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself that will have you burned out before the fireworks even begin.
  4. Don’t forget to focus on you. This is the time of year when your tendency is think about others, but don’t forget to take some time for yourself too! You need time to unwind so you can clear your mind. Set aside at least 15 minutes a day to relax and take a deep breath.

If despite your best efforts you still find you cannot kick the feeling of anxiety or depression, reach out to your primary care physician or a mental health provider for tips and recommendations on getting you back to your normal frame of mind.

John E. Aoki, M.D., CHCQM, FABQAURP

Chief Medical Officer

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