Tips for reducing holiday stress

December 14, 2012

a1524ba901255846eec1f3b18db83d65_f351.jpgTalk about stressful. The average American spends 42 hours a year on holiday activities. That's one standard work week spent shopping, wrapping, and returning presents, attending holiday parties, and traveling from place to place. Often these extra activities get squeezed into already busy schedules.

Here Are Tips To Help You Relax This Holiday Season:  

Think about what's important. Happiness and fulfillment lie in the balance between self-care and caring for others. The holidays should be about making good memories, not about making things perfect.

 Socialize. If you're feeling lonely, find a church or community center where you can be with other people.

Exercise every day. That's especially important when you're eating more. It's hard to be sad if you're physically fit.

Limit time in front of the TV.  Make time for friends and outdoor walks. As far as TV, Christmas specials and movies oftentimes promote unrealistic holiday expectations, which just increase pressure. Nothing can live up to expectations of a Norman Rockwell holiday.

Don't spend too much. Shopping - especially if you're worried about money or getting elbowed in the stores - can drain the fun out of the holiday season. Many families have had to cut back on holiday gifts. If this includes you, have a family meeting and get creative. Some families draw names and each person buys for one person. Some families do handmade gifts. A coupon might be good for a massage or night off from doing the dishes, for instance. You don't have to go into debt to make the holidays special.  

 A cautionary note: If it feels impossible to imagine the holiday as anything but unbearable, you might be severely depressed and may need to see a doctor.

Symptoms of depression include: sadness, loss of enjoyment, loss of energy, feelings of hopelessness, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, digestive problems, change of appetite, and thoughts of death or suicide. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of depression, get advice from your health provider or a referral to a mental health professional.

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