How to eliminate stress during the holiday season

Christmas stress - busy woman wearing santa hat stressing for christmas shopping holding many christmas gifts in her arms. Image From:

During the holidays, many of us feel a bit stressed out. Maybe it’s the year-end deadlines or the gift-giving for family and friends which burn a hole in our wallets. So how do we troubleshoot this unwanted stress? After all, holidays are supposed to bring that warm, fuzzy feeling as we celebrate with loved ones and look forward to the New Year. We chatted with Dr. Lizar Egbogah, a Chiropractic doctor and clinic director of the [fix], about eliminating stress during the holidays.

  • Why are the holidays a stressful time for some people?

There are several reasons why the holidays can be stressful. Many people report family tension around this time because holidays usually involve family get-togethers. This is also a hard time for people who have lost a family member that they are used to spending the holidays with.

Purchasing gifts and spending money on festivities can lead to financial stress. The full effect of this is usually seen when the credit card bills arrive in January.

The main reason why people find the holidays stressful is that they are usually extremely busy as most people have various social obligations along with mounting work pressures during this time. The combination of being busy at work or at home trying to get everything done before the holidays and late nights from holiday parties leaves many people burnt out.

  • What are the signs that stress is having a negative impact in their life?

Feelings of depression and anxiety, unexplained fatigue, unintentional weight gain/loss, headaches, body pains and sleep difficulties are all signs that you are over stressed.

  • How can people eliminate stress during the holidays?

It may not be possible to eliminate stress during the holidays but you can minimize it or find ways to cope with the stress. The best thing that you can do is to make yourself the priority. If you don’t want to go to a social event, don’t be afraid to say no. If you can’t get something done at work before the holidays, ask for help or let it wait till you get back. If you don’t have time to look for gifts, just get gift cards for everyone. You have to be realistic with yourself and what you can do during such a busy time. The most important thing is to spend time with friends and family, everything else can wait.

  • How can they avoid stress and negative people during the holiday season?

There is no need to stress yourself out by being around negative people and there is nothing wrong with purposefully avoiding these people. If they want to grumble and complain you can simply walk away and let them know that you are busy. It is also fine to politely decline social invitations that you know you won’t be able to enjoy. Remember, work parties do not have mandatory attendance.

  • How can one manage stress during the holidays?
  1. Stop and breathe- you may not even realize that you are not breathing enough during the day. Not breathing enough has been associated with anxiety and depression and overall joint pain.
  1. Exercise – your mind and body will thank you. Any form of cardiovascular exercise will get the blood pumping and endorphins up so not only will you feel better but you will be better equipped to cope with holiday stress. As an added bonus you can help burn off those calories from all the holiday treats.
  1. Stretch- stretching your chest, neck, shoulder and leg muscles throughout the day will have your muscles feeling better and can help prevent headaches, neck and back pain.
  1. Treat yourself – take an hour out of the busy holiday season to get a massage or see a chiropractor. This is an extremely effective way to reduce stress. Plus you can buy gift certificates for everyone on your shopping list taking away the stress of present shopping.
  • Any tips to survive the holiday season of gift giving, parties, deadlines etc?

Be a little bit selfish. You don’t need to give everyone a gift or go to every party. Deadlines can usually be extended and if not get someone to help you out in lieu of a gift!

Happy [stress free] Holidays!

Dr. Liza