Keeping Holiday Spirits Up and Stresses Down

Picking out the right gift for a person and watching them open it, receiving gifts, homemade goodies, decorating your home, the parties and family get-togethers, the holiday cards with pictures of loved ones - it's all great - but it's also extremely stressful, especially for women. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, almost half of all women in the United States report experiencing higher levels of stress during the holidays. (Only about a third of men do.) In the long term, that can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, anxiety, obesity, abnormal heart beat, menstrual problems, and acne and other skin problems. These serious problems can be life-threatening, so it is important to try lower stress levels this holiday season. Prioritizing can help.

Consider taking a few things off of your list this season. Take five minutes to think about which traditions and customs are really necessary. Which things do you really love doing and look forward to each year, and which things do you consider to be chores and dread to do? Hopefully, most of the key elements fall in the “love-doing” column. If not, can you delegate or trade any of the tasks with others? Changing your focus from everything you must do to everything you want to do is a great first step toward achieving that joyful, memorable holiday season we desire.

Even if you are able to reduce your overwhelming to-do list, extra stress is inevitable. There are ways to fight it, though, and not by adding another thing to do to the list! First of all, continue your exercise routine during these potentially stressful weeks. If you have to give up something in order to fit holiday tasks in, give up screen time. Don’t sacrifice sleep either; try to stay as close to your regular sleeping and waking times as possible. Being overtired and stressed lowers ones immunities, and being sick during the holidays is no fun at all.

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