This year has been challenging for millions of Americans due to the health crisis. According to The Washington Post, our nation has not experienced this magnitude of layoffs and economic contraction since the Great Depression, many experts say, and recovery is unlikely to be swift. With the upcoming holiday season, many people will experience an upheaval of added stress and it’s no wonder, with the expectations of buying presents, cooking meals, and trying to figure out how to connect with family and friends virtually, the holidays can be an unwelcome guest. Luckily, there are ways to cope with the added pressure of the holiday season so you can enjoy your time. Here are five tips from the Mayo Clinic to consider this season.
Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Try these suggestions:
- Have a healthy snack before holiday meals so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.
- Eat healthy meals.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Include regular physical activity in your daily routine.
- Try deep-breathing exercises, meditation or yoga.
- Avoid excessive tobacco, alcohol and drug use.
- Be aware of how the information culture can produce undue stress, and adjust the time you spend reading news and social media as you see fit.
Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Find an activity you enjoy. Take a break by yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing, and restoring inner calm. Some options may include:
- Taking a walk at night and stargazing
- Listening to soothing music
- Reading a book
Stick to a budget. Before you do your gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts. Try these alternatives:
- Donate to a charity in someone’s name.
- Give homemade gifts.
- Start a family gift exchange.
Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children or other relatives can’t come to your home, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos. Or meet virtually on a video call. Even though your holiday plans may look different this year, you can find ways to celebrate.
Did you know 88 percent feel stressed when celebrating the holidays and the average couple will have seven arguments throughout the season, according to new research? The holidays are rapidly approaching so take steps to prevent stress and depression this year. The physicians and staff at Bay Area Family Physicians appreciate the opportunity to provide your medical services. We want to strengthen communication between our office and you, our patients. As specialists in Family Medicine, we focus on primary care needs for patients of all ages – from newborns to the elderly.