11 Ways to Combat Holiday Stress | Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System
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11 Ways to Combat Holiday Stress

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Ever notice how the most wonderful time of the year can quickly turn into the biggest nightmare of the year? Holiday stress can happen to even the most seasoned holiday expert. There are several major factors that may cause a more stressful holiday season including over commitment, over indulgence, family conflicts, high expectations, and the interruption of regular routines. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you combat holiday stress:

1. Increase Sunlight Exposure

Research has found that Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is related to the changing of the seasons. Sometimes all you need to do to combat SAD is to increase your exposure to sunlight. When the Sun’s ultraviolet rays hit the skin, the body creates a supply of Vitamin D which helps your body maintain serotonin levels. Serotonin is known to be a mood stabilizer. There are light bulbs that imitate the Sun’s rays and they are perfect to put in lamps, so even on cloudy days you can get some Vitamin D.

2. Take a Walk

Exercise is always a great way to relieve stress and it can be as simple as taking a 10 minute walk. This gets you out of the house and away from the stressful situation.

3. Maintain a Regular Routine

Between holiday parties, extra school functions, holiday baking and shopping, your regular schedule can be shattered. It is important to maintain as much of your regular schedule as possible. This means sticking with your work out routines, dinner times, homework times, and even family time.

4. Laugh!

Laughter is a proven stress reliever. When you are feeling extra stressed out put on a funny movie or spend time playing with your kids or pets.

5. Lower Your Expectations

Let’s face it… You are not Martha Stewart. Your house may not look like a magazine cover and your Pinterest recipes may have been an epic failure. But that’s okay! Your house will be festive enough with holiday cheer and I’m sure those mini pies taste wonderful. Remember to be happy just spending time with your family.

6. Start New Traditions

Holidays can be especially stressful to those who have lost loved ones. Although this is a time to remember those you have lost, it is important to create new memories with your family. Starting a new holiday tradition is a perfect way to do that.

7. Don’t Overload

This goes back to #3. Holidays can be a huge strain on your time and your pocket book. Decorate, bake, shop, and clean as a family. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks. This time of year is a great time to volunteer time and money, just be sure you aren’t trying to do too much.

8. Go Tech Free

Constantly checking your phone with social media updates can cause unnecessary strain, especially when the whole family is doing it! This year, leave your phones and tablets in the other room and remember to enjoy each other’s company. You can update your status later. #familytime

9. Eat Breakfast before Your Coffee

Research suggests that coffee on an empty stomach can cause blood sugar levels to spike which may lead to attention problems and irritability. So if you have a lot to do that day make sure you eat a good breakfast!

10. Find Balance

It can be as simple as a family walk or a full blown work out. Exercise is a proven stress reliever. It is also important to make healthy food choices. What you eat can directly affect your mood. Go ahead and have that second piece of pumpkin pie, just make sure you get some veggies too!

11. Focus on the Positive

Things may not be going according to plan. That’s okay! The most important thing is that your family is happy, healthy, and together. In the end, they won’t remember that the turkey was a little dry. They will remember spending time together.

There are many other ways to avoid a stressful holiday season. Start your planning early, manage expectations, pace yourself, and most importantly, remember to laugh and enjoy the moment!