Staying Relaxed this Holiday Season

Stressed during the holidays

The holidays can be a time of joy, but they can also bring a great deal of stress. It’s easy to become frazzled with all the demands of your time and money, and your regular schedule becomes disrupted.

Here are some tips on how to stay relaxed during the holiday season, as well as some suggestions on how to avoid certain stress triggers:

Do less to enjoy the holidays more

The holidays seem to become an endless list of things to do as we try to bake, send cards, attend get-togethers, buy presents, etc. The list doesn’t seem to end. Prioritize the tasks and events that are truly important to you, and if you need a break don’t hesitate to say no to the others. Many people try to please others by doing everything, but you also need to take care of yourself.

Maintain your normal routine

Try to stick with your daily routine as much as possible in spite of all the demands on your time. Maintain your regular exercise schedule so you don’t get off track, and although you can certainly have some holiday goodies, stick with your regular eating habits as much as possible. And finally, if you have hobbies or activities that you enjoy, find the time to maintain these over the holidays. Cutting back on your regular fun can make you feel more stressed than usual.

Increase the amount of sunlight you’re exposed to

Sunlight helps boost your body’s release of serotonin, a chemical that’s produced by your body and can help improve your mood. It can also help relieve symptoms associated with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression that can occur when the days are shorter. You can get sunlight by going outside or staying near a window on sunny days.

Things to avoid:

Family disputes

If your family can’t seem to get through a meal without arguing, suggest that you eat out at a restaurant instead of getting together at one of your homes. It’s more likely that everyone will be more polite if they’re out in public.

Strains on your budget

Holiday gifts can strain your budget, it can be hard to manage the extra expenses. Instead of stressing yourself out, try some alternatives. You could make homemade gifts, donate to a charity in your gift recipients’ names, or suggest drawing names for a family gift exchange. Chances are good that other family members will be relieved at your suggestion.

Going it alone

Holidays can sometimes trigger depression or make existing depression worse. For many people, the holidays can be a less-than-joyful time, especially if you’ve experienced a difficult year. Don’t try to work through things on your own, since most people need treatment in order to get better. It’s important to talk to your family and loved ones about the way you’re feeling.

If you have a particular concern or would like to find out more about taking care of yourself during the holidays, make an appointment today for an evaluation with Dr. Shawna Purcell in Olympia, WA

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