Thursday, December 4, 2008

How Can I Handle Holiday Stress

The holidays are here once again- family, friends, food, and stress? The holidays are supposed to be the most joyous time of the year, but studies show that they are the most stressful. The holiday season actually raises levels of stress and depression in the Unites States.

A study by NBC Dateline found that 41 percent of people reported that they are very stressed out around the holidays. Triggers for stress during the holidays include fatigue, unrealistic expectations, over commercialization, financial constraints, inability to be together with one’s family and friends, pressure to be with one’s family and friends, and the demands of shopping, parties, house guests, and family reunions.
The National Mental Health Association recommends these steps to combat holiday stress:

1) Keep your expectations for the holidays manageable.

2) Keep in mind that you don’t have to be happy all the time.

3) Look to the future; don’t focus on holidays past and try to recreate them.

4) Limit alcoholic beverages.

5) Experience new holiday celebrations – be creative and make it fun.

6) Spend time with supportive and caring people.

7) Save time – don’t take too much on yourself.

8) Pace yourself and stay structured. Don’t overdo it with shopping and parties.

9) Talk about fond memories and missed loved ones, and remember only the good times.

10) Anticipate and avoid situations where you know you will be uncomfortable, or where you know people there will upset you.

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