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  • Marilyn Buckley, CHHC

HHC Essentials: Guide for Coping With Holiday Stress


Do the holidays ever leave you feeling somewhat out of control or even overwhelmed? Know that you are not alone. Research reveals that 90% of Americans will suffer from at least one or more stressors during the holiday season. The month of December is packed with increased, cooking, running around, shopping, spending money and traveling! So it is not a shock that this increased stress can take a toll on our health, both physical and emotional.

Here are some suggestions that might just help ease the stress and allow you time to relax and truly enjoy the holidays:

  1. Plan ahead for what needs to get done and have a time frame in which to complete these tasks, ie., menu, ordering ahead (waiting to the last minute and then not being able to get something you need will certainly add to the stress), baking – instead of the stress of trying to get the cookie baking done find a cookie sale near you (many churches will have an annual holiday sale) and get all you need – you will still get the home baked goodies and you won’t have the added stress

  2. If you are hosting be ok with asking guests to bring something – it’s fun to ask someone to bring something that is their favorite or a family tradition food item. Guests actually like contributing.

  3. Take time to watch some Christmas movies – hello Hallmark Channel! Nothing gets me more in the mood than some great Christmas movies and music.

  4. Try gift exchanging instead of trying to buy for everyone if that creates too much stress. In all honesty many people prefer to do this instead of feeling “obligated” to buy for someone because they bought for them. Try to get back to the true essence of the holiday.

  5. When you’re feeling stressed get up and walk away. Take a quick walk around the block or house or building if you are at work. Simply walking away can have a tranquilizing effect on the brain.

Getting out in the fresh air and sunshine can do wonders!

  1. Use Essential Oils to help decrease your stress level. Certain essential oils can boost feelings of well-being and help alleviate stress by increasing levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that affects your mood

  2. As you do less you will find that you are enjoying things more. It is ok to say no to at least one thing – even better if you can do it more.

There is so much shopping, cooking, baking, wrapping gifts, writing out and sending cards, going to parties, and other events and on and on and on. Pick what is truly important and what brings you the greatest joy and do those things – just not everything!

  1. Don’t neglect you! It is very easy to lose track of your needs in the midst of trying to do it all. Try to maintain your normal routine as much as possible, ie., exercise, meditation, healthy eating, etc.

  2. Take some “me” time and just put everything down for awhile.

Fix yourself a hot cup of tea or hot cocoa and grab a book or magazine or watch that Christmas movie and just relax. You will feel refreshed.

  1. When you feel stressed, close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly counting to 3 in and out. This really helps center you.

You can also squeeze the fleshy part of skin between your thumb and forefinger for 30 seconds both hands.

Wishing you a wonderful, healthy and relaxed Christmas!

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