'Tis the Season...To Be Stressed Out?
According to Morton C. Orman, M.D., author of the bestselling The 14-Day Stress Cure, the top causes of holiday stress are:
Social and personal expectations
Too many responsibilities
Trying to change or control people
Unpleasant emotions and other body reactions
Blaming yourself or others when things go wrong
Failing to anticipate likely problems and delays
Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope with stress
Expecting things to go well
Expecting others to behave as you prefer
Being single, divorced, widowed or separated
Below are some suggestions on how to defuse your holiday stress and give you the chance to have your best holiday season ever (no pressure, though.)
Be realistic: Put the holiday in perspective and avoid trying to please everyone.
Visualize: Think about how you might handle unpleasant family interactions more positively.
Exercise: Keep up a regular routine of exercise or start one if you don t already exercise.
Use moderation: Don't go overboard on holiday spending and entertaining. Overspending during the holidays can lead to added post holiday stress.
Have a sense of humor: Avoid taking the small things seriously.
Help others: Take time to do something for someone else.
Take time for yourself: Find time in your schedule to slow down and enjoy family and friends, and yourself.
Manage the holiday "hype."
Cut back on presents. Presents cost money and shopping takes time.
Do less, not more. It may seem sacrilegious to actually relax and enjoy the holidays, but it can make the whole month a lot more fun. And the best way to relax is to cut back on activities.
Be flexible. Tradition doesn’t have to mean rigidity.
Look for creative solutions to problems.
Ease family tensions by breaking up the old patterns and creating new ones.
Have your major holiday meal catered.
Don’t make eating and drinking the focus of get-togethers. Go caroling or hiking instead, or volunteer to serve food at a homeless shelter.
Put a dollar limit on gift-giving.
Shop early to avoid the holiday crowds.
Shop online for out-of-town relatives and friends to avoid the long post-office lines.