Stress and the Holidays

Holidays are an important and stress time for many families.  The focus of the holidays is to celebrate but often we become so busy with preparations that we forget their true meaning.  Meeting everyone’s needs during the holidays, as well as bringing to life the picture we’ve painted in our own minds, can over-stress our bodies.  Our bodies can be over-stressed both physically (e.g. overeating, drinking, being overactive) and psychologically (e.g. loneliness, anxiety, depression)

When our stress level becomes overloaded, our bodies react  in a variety of ways: headaches, decreased ability to fight infection, digestive problems, sleep disturbances, increased blood pressure., etc.  We need to be aware of these warming symptoms and respond to them.  Here are some suggestions to help decrease the stress and increase our enjoyment:

  • Communicate with Family: decide together what activities are important.
  • Prioritize: list special holiday activities at home and outside the home.
  • Simplify: decorating, gift-giving, cooking
  • Schedule Realistically: avoid cramming too many holiday chores or activities in too little time; use family calendar so regular activities are remembered.
  • Rest: keep regular sleep patterns; take a few moments each day for yourself.
  • Eat Well: eat a variety of healthy foods– avoid skipping meals and eating or drinking excessively at holiday gatherings.
  • Delegate: enlist the help of your family and friends.
  • Laugh: remember that the best laid plans of mice and mothers often go astray!

Most importantly, our children don’t have the same expectations that we have for the holidays.  Spending time with them is what they’ll remember.

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