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Recognizing and Coping With Holiday Stress

By Stepy Kamei

When the holidays come around, it feels like there's only one way to think about the upcoming season: That it's the most wonderful time of the year! The holiday season does provide joy, cheer, and comfort for many of us, but it shouldn't be overlooked that plenty of people experience an influx of stress and anxiety as well during this time of year. Take into account the financial strain of buying gifts, the pressures seeing family might bring, and the stress of traveling, and it makes sense why many mental healthcare professionals consider the holiday season to be one of the most stressful times of the year.

Know the Signs of Stress

If you've been feeling anxious, fatigued, or more irritable or sad than normal, especially while dealing with holiday preparations, holiday-related stress may be to blame. Furthermore, while stress can feel uncomfortable in the mind, it can also cause physical symptoms of discomfort as well. Classic physical signs of stress include headaches, muscle spasms, nausea, sleepiness, and indigestion.

Take the time out of each day to acknowledge how you're feeling, both physically and mentally, in order to determine if you're experiencing any of these symptoms. If they tend to accompany certain activities related to the holidays, or if they seem to be getting worse as holiday-related engagements draw closer, you may be suffering from holiday-related stress. It can be beneficial to start up a journal to track any physical and mental symptoms you may be experiencing, and to start looking for repeated episodes or patterns.

Helpful Coping Tips 

First of all, planning as far ahead as possible can relieve a great deal of stress. Many people get anxiety when their holiday plans seem to sneak up on them suddenly, leaving them unprepared and having to scramble to organize their schedules. By planning ahead, you can make a list of priorities and check them off by order of importance.

In terms of planning, it can also be extremely beneficial to set a budget early on in the season so you don't feel helpless watching your finances deplete as you buy gifts. You may also prefer to bake or offer help to your loved ones instead of buying things for them.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, remember that it's acceptable, and even necessary, to take care of yourself during this time as well. Set aside time every day to do something you love. You can take a bath, get a massage, get dinner with a friend, or take a walk outside with a loved one. These simple self-care activities can do wonders when it comes to managing your stress and anxiety levels.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Durham, N.C.

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