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Tips for Avoiding Holiday Stress

Monday, December 3, 2018
Eva Imperial, MD

The holiday season is upon us, along with it a dizzying assortment of demands. Enjoyable family time, breaks from work, Christmas carols and tasty food are met with the stressors of entertaining guests, cooking, baking, cleaning, and shopping to name just some.

In time for the holidays, Dr. Eva Imperial, a family practice physician with the Iredell Physician Network, is providing tips on how to prevent and reduce holiday-induced stress.

“I’ve heard all kinds of stories recently of my patients being stressed,” Imperial said. “They don’t have any time while still trying to work. Try not to overindulge in that family or office Christmas party. Don’t overindulge in alcohol, food, or spending. If you didn’t need to spend $1,000 on great deals, think about how that’s going to stress you out later.”

Plan Ahead: Determine specific days to decorate, shop or bake. By pre-planning, you can avoid stress caused by rushing around to finish tasks at the last minute.

“Try to develop a plan to have everything in moderation. If you have people living with you, delegate it. Even the six-year-olds can put things away. It may not be perfect, but it will save you mentally.”

Maintain your Routine: Try to maintain your kids’ bedtime, even when they’re out of school. Continue to take your medicines. Don’t drop off exercise, and try not to overeat.

Set Aside Time to Relax: Avoid becoming entangled in the surrounding commotion by taking time to listen to relaxing music or stroll around the neighborhood to admire the festive scenery.

Learn to Say No: Place a limit on the amount of projects you undertake. Volunteering for charities and participating in community events are rewarding, but too many can be overly taxing. Maintain your sanity by regulating your number of commitments. An unreasonable amount of demands can strain your stability.

“One of the things is not to say yes to everything,” Imperial said. “You can get signed up for a lot of stuff during the holidays. By the time you sign up for cookies for school, three sides of food at the work gathering, and all the holiday shopping for guests, you get a little overwhelmed,” Imperial said.

If it’s not too late already, pick the events you want to go to that will be enjoyable for you. Don’t say yes just because you feel guilty, or you may end up not enjoying the holidays. It comes and goes very quickly.