Are the Holidays a Source of Stress for You? Use These Strategies to Cope

The stress caused by holiday expenses and family tensions can trigger unhealthy coping mechanisms such as smoking , drinking, and overeating. Acute stress can also exacerbate medical conditions, putting strain on the heart and affecting the immune system. When you are tempted to break your personal resolutions due to a difficult situation, consider trying the following activities first:

 

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Enjoy Alone Time

Having extended family crowded into one house can be overwhelming, particularly if you are hosting. Delegate responsibilities to others, and take an hour or two by yourself to do your favorite calming activity, whether it is watching a movie, taking a bath, or listening to music. Be clear about your desire to avoid interruption—turn your phone off and inform others that your room is off-limits for the time being.

Get Some Exercise

Although your normal routine may be thrown off by shopping and party planning, it is important to squeeze in time to exercise. Heading to the gym can be a welcome break from stressful situations, but even a walk or jog around the neighborhood can restore your sense of well-being. If you are feeling guilty about missing out on family time, call everyone outdoors for a game of catch or tag—the kids will enjoy seeing the adults being playful, and everyone will benefit from such a lighthearted bonding experience!

Be Creative

Trying out a new hobby or rediscovering an old interest can help you reflect on positive things, refreshing your mind. Consider documenting your feelings and experiences in a journal or using a photo editing program to create artistic versions of family pictures. You can also do a holiday craft with the family, or break out musical instruments and hold a sing-along!

Good Samaritan Hospital’s behavioral health services can help you work toward emotional wellness in times of intense stress . Schedule an appointment by calling our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (408) 559-2011.

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