Stress and the holiday season seem to go hand in hand for many people. The planning, decorating, cooking, and entertaining all becomes a lot in a very short period of time. While you may think holiday, stress is inevitable and harmless, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, that common misconception has the ability to lead to some very serious health problems.
The Dangers of High Stress Levels
High stress levels are linked to many health conditions. Some of the more severe include heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and even depression. Holidays are supposed to be a happy time, so why put your health at risk? People who struggle with seasonal depression during the winter months are at an increased risk of poor stress management, but it can affect anyone.
Tips to Manage Stress
Managing your stress during the holidays isn’t easy, but it is possible. A few good tips to follow include:
- Setting realistic expectations – there are only so many hours in the day and only so many days in the week. Don’t overextend yourself by planning to go to too many holiday events or gift exchanges. Choose a couple each year and decline the rest of your invites. This also helps manage financial expectations of gift giving.
- Talk to someone – open up to a friend or family member about the stress that you’re feeling. Chances are, they’re feeling the same way! Sometimes just talking out your stress helps put it into perspective and make it more manageable.
- Set aside time for you – having time to yourself during the holidays is vital this will help you decompress and enjoy being alone before you attend the next family gathering or holiday party.
- Don’t disregard healthy habits – if you normally exercise every day, don’t let the holidays get in the way of that. No matter what your healthy habits may be, don’t forget to make time for them during your busy holiday schedule.
Getting Professional Advice
If you begin feeling overwhelmed with stress or depression this holiday season, reach out for help right away. Visit your local walk-in clinic to speak with a professional and get more tips to manage stress, or further treatment if needed.
There’s no shame in reaching out to a professional when you need it. Healthcare providers would much rather talk to you about how to manage your stress than to treat you for a stress related medical condition down the line!