Stress is a year-round fact of life. But does your stress level increase during the holidays?
Family conflict, “Martha Stewart syndrome”, taking on too much and overspending are just some of the additional stressors you may experience at this time of year.
Holiday stress statistics reported by the American Psychological Association show that up to 69% of people are stressed by the feeling of having a “lack of time”, 69% are stressed by perceiving a “lack of money”, and 51% feel stressed out over the “pressure to give or get gifts”.
Stress is the perception of pressure, tension, worry, fear, dread or anxiety. The way we respond to stress can exacerbate, or even create physical and emotional problems.
Stress contributes to problems such as allergies, muscle tension, upset stomach or heartburn, sore throats, sinus infections, colds & flu, migraine or tension headaches, sleep disorders, high blood pressure, angina, heart disease and heart attacks. And many individuals develop unhealthy behaviors to cope with stress: overeating, using alcohol or drugs, or irritability.
Begin reducing your stress today.
- Learn to relax
- Control, change, or let go of what you cannot change
- Create time to do what you enjoy during the holidays
Change your reaction to the stressful situation.
- Find the positive
- Slow down. Think before you react
- Learn to recognize when you are upset or worried about things you cannot control or change.
- Avoid spending energy blaming, holding a grudge, or resentment
- Use the word “no” – sometimes you need to set limits
Embrace healthy ways to manage stress.
- Get enough sleep
- Eat & drink in moderation
- Stay on budget
- Plan ahead and don’t overextend yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and delegate when possible
- Nurture your relationships
- Use stress management techniques, like deep breathing exercises, visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, exercise or yoga can help manage stress (click here for a free, downloadable meditation exercise)
For more information about managing holiday stress, visit our Stress Resource Center and take our confidential Stress Assessment.
If you or someone you know is experiencing high levels of stress, please contact Aurora Behavioral Health Services at 877-666-7223 or visit our web site at Aurora Behavioral Health Services.