Ways to Handle Holiday Stress

The holidays don’t always look like they do on a Christmas card. Ideally, everyone is laughing singing, relaxing, rejoicing, sipping cocoa, and getting along just fine. In reality, there’s lots of traffic, last-minute shopping, emergencies, commotion, spats with relatives, and it feels like you’ve been going non-stop since Thanksgiving. Here’s some advice to help you manage holiday stress, so you can have a happy and healthy holiday season.

What does stress look like?

Stress takes many different shapes and forms. Maybe you snap at a co-worker for a minor mix up, a door left open or an uncleaned room sends you into a fury, or you break down in tears when an ornament falls from the tree and sends glittering shards of glass spinning across the floor. Stress is a normal biological response, but left unchecked it can affect your mental, emotional, and physical health.

Don't let holiday stress get in the way of your holiday. Chronic stress can have a negative effect on your physical and mental health. Here are a few ways to manage holiday stress. Click To Tweet

Here are some of the common signs of stress.

  • irritability or anger
  • mood swings
  • physical aches and pains
  • headaches
  • fear and worry about the future
  • anxiety
  • feelings of sadness and depression
  • loss of appetite
  • depression
  • sleep problems
  • difficulty concentrating
  • apathy
  • lethargy
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • feeling mentally or emotionally numb

Ways to manage holiday stress

  • Talking to your doctor is a great place to start. Stress isn’t something that you just have to endure or put up with, and it’s not something that should be ignored. Talk to your primary care physician about feelings of stress, depression, and other mental health issues that can get in the way of wellness. Your doctor can help you develop a plan to manage your stress.
  • Remember to be flexible. Things don’t always go according to plan. The more open you are to change and adjusting to the unexpected, the less stress you will have to deal with.
  • Try and stick to a regular routine. Get enough sleep, be physically active every day, and eat a healthy, nutritious diet.
  • Identify life stresses, or things that trigger stress in your life. Knowing your stress triggers can help you manage stress.
  • Find friends or family members who can support you.
  • Managing stress isn’t as simple as staying positive, but keeping a cheerful and optimistic outlook can help improve your mood and can make situations less stressful.
  • Set aside time for yourself to relax and manage your stress. It’s a season of selfless though and charitable giving, but you can’t neglect your personal well-being. Here are some stress management tips that you can try.

Ways not to manage holiday stress

Stress affects your health on its own, but it can also lead to unhealthy behaviors. Avoid unhealthy stress management such as stress eating, smoking, drug use, or alcohol. The coping mechanisms are harmful and they don’t address the issue.

Don’t shoulder the burden of stress on your own. Talk to loved ones and people that you trust about what’s on your mind.

Don’t ignore stress. Managing stress will make the holiday season more enjoyable for you and those around you. Talk to a MANA doctor today.