The holiday season is a time for merriment and joy, but for many of us, it’s also a time when our stress levels soar.
It’s that endless holiday to-do list with buying gifts, decorating, cooking, visiting friends and family that can add up and cause stress to skyrocket. It helps if you manage expectations and embrace the reality that things can go wrong. So mentally prepare for the unexpected. Also watch your spending as a recent survey found 62 percent of Americans reported money was a cause of stress. And lastly, with our busy lifestyles sometimes you just need to say no to baking a hundred cookies or to any additional expectation or responsibility you have little time for.
Too much stress can easily cause irritability and negative thinking. But it can also lead to high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Also research discovered heart attacks and heart-related deaths increase during the festive season so it’s really important to effectively deal with stress. So my prescriptions:
1. Decide what matters most. Make a list of important activities – these will keep you focused and help make tasks more manageable.
2. Set a budget and keep track of your holiday spending. Quality time spent with loved ones is more important than extravagant gifts and financial stress.
3. Watch for overindulging as stress can trigger sugary and fatty food cravings. Make healthy food choices a priority and enjoy seasonal treats in moderation.
4. Don’t forget about exercise. Physical activity reduces tension, stabilizes mood and helps you respond much better to stress.
Laughter is the best medicine as the saying goes. But it can really help fight stress because it lifts your mood and releases endorphins in your brain. Laughing causes physical changes too – it boosts circulation, stimulates your heart and lungs and helps muscles to relax. So whenever something goes wrong, look for the humor and you’ll help soothe tension away.