5 Tips for Beating Holiday Stress

Taking steps now will lower the anxiety experienced by many of us during the holiday season.

| December 17, 2010

McLean, Virginia – All of us feel “stressed out” at one time or another. The problem is it can have a huge impact on our emotions and even our physical health. With Christmas and New Year’s just around the corner, millions of people are hurrying to get shopping done, presents mailed and menus planned. Santa’s “To-Do List” couldn’t be longer. From lack of sleep to the emotional overload of extended visits with family, the stressful onslaught of the holidays really can take its toll on the mind, body and soul. But you don’t have to let stress get the best of you, now is the time to plan your course of action.

“Stress is the way our body automatically responds to difficult situations. You may feel nervous, irritable and depressed; experience increased aches and pains; or you may just not feel like yourself,” says Dr. Gary Kaplan, founder of The Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine, located in McLean, Virginia. “There are many ways that stress can impact your health. It is very important, especially at this time of the year, for folks to try to take it easy, and if you get stressed, to seek relief.”

The good news is that there are things you can do to beat that holiday stress. Remember these five tips for relieving stress, now and throughout the year:

1. Do less. While it is the season when people tend to want to go overboard doing for others, you should back away from that impulse. Say “yes” too often, and you may get overwhelmed. Simply tell some people “no,” and share the load by delegating where possible.

2. Live simply. While you may be bombarded by ads to Buy! Buy! Buy! you can choose not to participate and add that stress to your holiday season. Skip the shopping, opt for a few homemade gifts, and spend quality time with those you love. And your credit cards will thank you come January!

3. Slow down. Maintaining your normal routine as much as possible during the holidays can help to ease stress. We are creatures of habit and when our routine is off we feel the sting. Find a good book, and read in bed.

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