It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Stress-mas
The holidays can be a time of joy and excitement; however, the holidays can add additional anxiety and stress. People can become overwhelmed by grief during the holiday season, feeling rushed, trying to find the “perfect” gift, not being financially able to afford the holiday, and/or attending social gatherings or events,
This added anxiety and stress can take a toll on a person’s mental and physical health. Dr. Sheila Kensinger added that for those going through addiction, depression, and anxiety, holiday season can be very emotional. She had a few suggestions for those who may be struggling this time of year.
Dr. Kensinger suggests that those who are having difficulty take it one day at a time. This way you don’t put too much on yourself all at once and do not feel overwhelmed. She also recommends taking time for yourself to relax along the way. Do something that makes you feel good: listening to music, writing in a journal, taking a walk, petting your animals, playing with your children, etc. Dr. Kensinger says that sometimes serving others can help you find joy during the holiday season. Volunteer and serve others by doing something you love. Some suggestions she gave include volunteering at a local food bank or soup kitchen, baking a pie and giving it to an elderly neighbor, baking cookies and donating them to an after school or church group. Additionally, Dr. Kensinger says being grateful for what you have and being thankful can go a long way. Try completing a holiday gratitude list during the holiday season, and focusing on what you have instead of what you might be lacking. If gift giving is something that stresses you out, consider starting your shopping early and setting a budget to help keep you on track. Plan for those you want to shop for and check it off when you’re done. Seeing this progress can help keep you from getting overwhelmed and lower your stress.
Staying mentally and emotionally healthy and strong is important all year long, not only during the holiday season. If spending time with your family is too overwhelming, allow yourself a moment to step away from family gatherings to refocus and calm down. Remember that you are allowed to say “no”, and you don’t have to attend every gathering or event during the holiday season. Sleep and rest are also important! Make sure you’re not overextending yourself and allowing time for adequate rest. The added holiday stress and anxiety can take its toll on the body physically and mentally.
This infographic illustrates some of the ways that this can manifest in the body physically.
Dr. Kensinger said in closing, “Enjoy as much or as little of the holidays as your energy will allow. Trust your intuition. When you feel low energy, take a break. It’s all good.”