5 Tips for Beating Holiday Stress

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Take a few simple steps to beat the holiday stress this year.

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

“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

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

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.

4. Find outlets. (And we don’t mean shopping outlets!) Everyone
needs healthy outlets or ways of discharging pent-up emotional and physical
tension. Consider calling a friend to vent, journaling about your feelings,
taking an exercise class, or enjoying a long bubble bath.

5. Take care. It is especially important during
stressful times to take good care of your body. During this holiday season,
make wise nutritional choices; get plenty of exercise; and do things that will
help restore your energy, such as meditating, or getting a massage. Loving
touch heals the body and the mind.

“It is important
to do all of these things throughout the year, but especially during the more
stressful holiday period,” Kaplan says. “By taking care of yourself and taking
steps to decrease your stress level, you can also help fend off illness.”

This year make a
commitment to yourself not to allow stress to overwhelm your holidays. Tell
those you love about your commitment to de-compress, take the steps to make it
happen, and you may sail through the season feeling “chill.”

If you do find
that you are feeling overwhelmed, over-stressed or depressed, remember, you’re
not alone. This can be a difficult season. Don’t hesitate to seek the help of a

The Kaplan Center
for Integrative Medicine has been finding solutions for individuals suffering
with chronic pain and illness for more than 25 years. The center’s founder, Dr.
Gary Kaplan, is one of only18 physicians in the country who is a
board-certified specialist in Family Medicine and Pain Medicine. A leader and
pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, Kaplan is a Fellow of the
American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, a Clinical Associate Professor at
Georgetown University School of Medicine, and he has served as a consultant at
the National Institutes of Medicine (NIH). The Kaplan Center’s
team of physicians, physical therapists and other health care providers combine
the best of conventional medicine with the best alternative practices to
address chronic pain and illness and to help individuals attain optimal health
for life. To learn more, visit The Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine‘s