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International Stress Awareness Week

 

Ready, set, celebrate! As the holiday season approaches, many people start feeling the pressure to prepare for the whirlwind holiday season — decorating, prepping for parties, shopping, gift-wrapping and cooking.

But what if there’s already way too much hustle and bustle in your life? Are you wondering how you’ll ever find time to deck the halls?

Well, you’re not alone. According to a survey conducted by the Verywell Mind website, more than 80% of us rank the holiday season as “somewhat” stressful or even “very” stressful.

The National Institute of Mental Health defines stress as the way the brain and body respond to any type of demand — such as exercise, work, school, life changes or traumatic events.
If the demands of the holiday season trigger stress for you, you might experience these symptoms:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Impatience
  • Increased alcohol or substance use
  • Poor eating habits

Over time, stress can impact your body and mental health in negative ways. But not all stress is bad. Learn how to manage it in order to stay motivated while still enjoying the holidays.

Keep joy in your holidays

The good news is that holiday stress does not have to steal the joy from your holiday season. The American psychological Association identifies these common holiday stressors and offers tips about how best to cope with them.

Gift-giving - The holidays are a giving season. You may want to be generous with your friends and family, but, sometimes, finding the right gifts can be overwhelming. Start by making a list and sticking to it. Keep gifts simple. Remember, your relationships with family and friends are what matters most, not material things.

Financial stress - Gift-giving, traveling, and entertaining can put a real strain on your finances. Before the holidays begin, set a reasonable budget and stick to it. Buying items you cannot afford increases stress. If needed, don’t be afraid to scale back on your holiday shopping. Instead, focus on the true meaning of the holiday and plan your activities accordingly. Maybe that means taking a family hike outdoors or visiting a homebound relative (from a safe distance!) instead of going out and spending money.

Stressful conversation - It’s not uncommon for stressful topics to drift into your conversation at a holiday party or family dinner table. Sometimes, a difference in opinion about family issues, politics, or religion puts a real strain on family and friend relationships. To reduce this type of stress, the American Psychological Association recommends:

  • Finding areas where you agree
  • Being kind and respectful
  • Being willing to listen to opposing views
  • Calmly stating your opinion and accepting that you may not be able to change the other person’s mind
  • Planning activities that bring people together, such as games or looking through old photo albums

Read the full article in the link below.

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