Most Shared

Health News

Health News

 
text size

Reduce Holiday Stress

Updated: Wednesday, December 4 2013, 11:58 AM CST

Reduce Holiday Stress

Everyone has stress. We have short-term stress, like getting lost while driving, or for some people, the Holday's can create a very high level of stress. This kind of stress can make us feel worried or anxious. Both short term stress, like the Holidays, or long term stress can have serious affects on our bodies.  Stress triggers changes in our bodies. It can suppress the immune system and makes us more likely to get sick. It can also make problems we already have worse. It can play a part in many problems, according to NIMH.

Examples include:
    trouble sleeping
    headaches
    constipation
    diarrhea
    irritability
    lack of energy
    poor concentration
    eating too much or not at all
    anger
    sadness
    higher risk of asthma and arthritis flare-ups
    stomach cramping
    stomach bloating
    skin problems, like hives
    anxiety
    weight gain or loss
    heart problems
    high blood pressure
    irritable bowel syndrome
    diabetes
    neck and/or back pain
    less sexual desire
    fertility issues

Below are 8 Tips on dealing with Holiday stress, and for more information on the affects stress can have on our bodies Sacred Heart Health Systems has some additional information here.

Over the Holidays, the average American spends 42 hours a year on holiday activities. That's one standard work week spent shopping, wrapping, and returning presents, attending holiday parties, and traveling from place to place. Often these extra activities get squeezed into already busy schedules.

Holiday stress can take many forms. In a survey conducted by Mental Health America, money concerns and chaotic schedules are two of the top sources of holiday stress. Women reported feeling slightly more stressed than men -- and parents in general feel more stressed than most groups.

This year, take the pressure off. Here are eight tips to help you relax this holiday season.  

1. Put Stress in its Place: It's Not About the Holidays
People who get stressed out easily are most likely to feel intense stress during the holidays. It's really all about you, and not about the holidays. But there's good news. You can learn to put stress in its place, and take the pressure off throughout the year.

"Stress and distress are often related to worrying about the future or fretting about the past," says David Levingston, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Brattleboro, Vt. To find peace and joy in any season, he advises focusing on the present moment.

2. Create the Holiday You Want
"When the holidays come around, there may be pressures pulling you in all directions off your center," Levingston says. He suggests you make clear decisions about how you want to spend your time and resources. Do it early, before the decorations go up around town. Consider what is most important to you. What memories will you look back on when the season winds down?

A little advance planning can help identify areas where you could cut back. Maybe nobody in your family enjoys certain functions. If so, be ready to RSVP with a polite no thank you.

3. Involve Your Kids
"It's a part of all holidays that people get thrown off schedule," says Hinda Dubin, MD, a University of Maryland professor of psychiatry. Dubin advises parents to stick with kids' regular meal and bedtime schedules as much as possible.

Eating and going to sleep at roughly the same time each day is good for children, Dubin says. Kids feel more secure when their days follow a predictable order. It improves their moods, and helps to create a peaceful household. Of course, a regular schedule isn't always possible during the holidays. You can offset holiday chaos by involving your children in holiday planning. Having a say in the planning can help your kids feel more in control during busy times.  

4. Beware of Shopping Pitfalls
Shopping -- especially if you're worried about money or getting elbowed in the stores -- can drain the fun out of the holiday season. People who focus on gifts generally feel less holiday cheer than those who spend more time with close friends and family.

Also, despite your best efforts, your gifts may not express your love as well as you hope. According to a survey by Consumer Reports, up to 49 million people get gifts they don't want each year. Some people donate their holiday duds to charity, return them, or try to sell them on eBay. A few even post photos of "bad gifts" online. So, think about what your loved one truly enjoys. Perhaps lunch out together would be appreciated more than a scarf.

5. Get Creative in Your Gift Giving
Many families have had to cut back on holiday gifts. If this includes you, have a family meeting and get creative. "Some families draw names and each person buys for one person. Some families do handmade gifts or coupons," Dubin says. A coupon might be good for a massage or night off from doing the dishes, for instance. You don't have to go into debt to make the holidays special.  

6. Play Games
Games can keep things fun and light at family gatherings. "Games are a good way to connect with each other and engage your mind, body, and imagination," says Levingston. The game is up to you. You can play games indoors or out, and they can be anything from a walk, treasure hunt, cards, or charades. "The key thing is, you are in the moment."  

7. Postpone Family Feuds
There is a reason many people equate holidays with family strife. "When you have a group of people in a small area and everyone expecting to have a great time, it is almost a set up for arguments," Dubin tells WebMD. With so much emotion and expectation, the holidays are not the best time to work things out. If old family baggage surfaces, plan to talk after the festivities wind down. "It's better to address emotional issues in a more relaxed, private setting," Dubin says.  

8. Have Compassion for Yourself and Others
Even if you shop less and focus on family time, stressed-out friends, in-laws, and co-workers may still come calling. How can you be a good friend and keep your calm?

Try not to take things personally. Levingston says that's one of the most important skills you can learn to reduce stress. During the holidays in particular, he says, most people are trying to get their needs met. Maybe it's their need for love or simply for validation. "Even if someone is being a jerk or insensitive, it is their way of trying to get their needs met," Levingston says.

So try not to think about how people "should be." Accept them as they are, and release the tension from your body. "I think when we can see where people are coming from, there can be less frustration and more compassion," Levingston says.  

How Stress affects the Body is also something that everyone should be aware of.  Both short term stress, like the Holidays, or long term stress can have serious affects on our bodies.  Stress triggers changes in our bodies. It can suppress the immune system and makes us more likely to get sick. It can also make problems we already have worse. It can play a part in many problems, according to NIMH.

Some of the Content provided by,
WebMD Health News
By Joanne Barker
Reviewed By Hansa D. Bhargava, MD
http://www.webmd.com/parenting/family-health-12/reduce-holiday-stress?page=1








Reduce Holiday Stress


Advertise with us!

Health Watch

  [ - ] Video Stories Only  [ - ] Text Stories Only  [ + ] Show All

ABC National Health News

Baby Can’t Open Mouth in Medical Mystery
The Scott family started a website to find out what's wrong with baby Wyatt.
New Bill Aims to Curb Overzealous Photoshopping
Could this mark an end to overzealous photoshopping of models?
Ohio Soccer Player Is Dangerously 'Allergic' to Her Own Sweat
By the time Caitlin McComish was back in fall training at University of Toledo, she had gone into shock 17 times, always near the soccer field. She missed more than a month of school and couldn't leave her apartment.
NJ Mumps Victims Were Vaccinated, Officials Say
At least eight students have contacted the virus.
Couple Applauds FDA Warning Against Hysterectomy Procedure
The FDA warns common surgical technique could lead to dangerous spread of cancer cells.
Conjoined Twins See Sunlight For the First Time
They were finally able to go outside, seven months after surgery.
Dying Boy Who Got Unapproved Drug Leaves Hospital
Josh Hardy was dying last month, but has now left the hospital.
Group Grieving May Help Families Through South Korea Ferry Disaster
Heart-wrenching photos of families mourning loved ones lost in a South Korean ferry disaster capture what some experts say is a helpful process: group grieving.
Paralyzed Veteran Walks Again With Exo-Skeleton
An explosion paralyzed Kevin Ogilvie while serving in Afghanistan in 2012.
School Flier Counsels Kids Not to Rat Out Bullies
The school has apologized for passing out the ill-advised flier.
Grieving Widow, Widower Discover Love Again on Internet Forum
"Marisa93" and "Jim C." who are engaged and have been living together in Miamisburg, Ohio, met on the website GRACE (Global Resource for Advancing Cancer Education), while their grief was still raw.
UK Doctor: 'I'd Rather Have HIV Than Diabetes'
UK doctor draws controversy after penning op-ed comparing HIV to diabetes.
Digital Mirror Shows Users Their Internal Organs
Mirror may some day help patients prepare for surgery.
No Shots, No School Amid Ohio Mumps Outbreak
At least 224 people in Franklin and Delaware counties have contracted the virus.
Lab Loses Thousands of Vials of Deadly SARS Virus
Vials containing SARS fragments not dangerous, but hint at vulnerability.
Why Your Spouse May Be 'Hangry' for a Fight
The link between marital discord and hunger pangs.
Dangers of Vaccine Hesitancy Explained in 10 Tweets
Many parents hesitate to vaccinate their children because of safety concerns.
Watch: Scientists Engineer Lab-Grown Vaginas
Four women with a genetic condition took part in a ground-breaking study.
Watch: Baby Can't Open Mouth in Medical Mystery
Video shows doctors assessing Wyatt Scott's ability to swallow.
Watch: 8 Mumps Cases Reported at NJ College
Stevens Institute of Technology reports eight cases despite students having been fully vaccinated.
Watch: Digital Mirror Reveals Internal Organs
3D installation creates what your body might look like on the inside.
3 High-Tech Diets That Work
Experts say that dieters who include apps in their weight-loss efforts score greater success than those who don't. We asked three Health readers to each test a leading digital diet and report back.
5 Steps to Avoid Getting 'Hangry'
Your energy is zapped, your stomach is rumbling, and your personality has transformed from level-headed and sweet to short-tempered and snippy. Your hunger has led to anger: You’re officially hangry. We’ve all been there, and it’s not pretty, but fortunately—for the sake of your relationships and social life—it can be avoided. Here are five rules for thwarting hunger-induced crankiness, and the binge that often follows.
9 Real Solutions for Seasonal Allergies
To find solutions that actually work, we scoured the latest research. Here's what we found.
6 Food Labels That Don't Mean What You Think They Do
Misunderstanding these labels could be sabotaging your health.
 

Enrollment for healthcare exchanges as part of healthcare reform begins October 1 in states where exchanges will be set up. Expect special reports each week from us about what you need to know about 'Obamacare' and the ongoing political fight about its future.

To Learn More About Health Care Reform, Click Here

Navigation

Sacred Heart Health System - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Sacred Heart Cardiology - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Sacred Heart Cancer Center - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Sacred Heart Orthopedics - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Coastal Vein Institute - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
The Endoscopy Center - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Coastal Vascular & Interventional - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Stand Up Open MRI - Health Watch - WEAR ABC Channel 3
Advertise with us!

Tonight on ABC 3

05:30PM Channel 3 News
06:00PM An ABC Special Presentation: "The Ten Commandments"
10:45PM Channel 3 News

Complete ABC 3 Schedule