Eliminate Holiday Stress to Avoid Your “Inner Grinch”

Holiday stress

Tis the season to be jolly -- at least that’s what most winter holiday songs emphasize. But for many women, the holiday season brings with it the appearance of several unwelcome guests who linger well into the New Year: stress, depression and feelings of being overwhelmed.

The holidays invoke expectations of joy and happiness. But the reality for many women means the holidays bring stress and negative feelings. Thoughts of baking, decorating, cleaning, entertaining, gift buying plus planning and coordinating the most perfect, memorable holiday celebrations whirl along with unrealistic goals within our minds of providing family memorable festive experiences. These consuming thoughts about upcoming holidays are common in the minds of most women, who are likely responsible for most holiday preparations, celebrations and activities.

Holiday stress can add up to some serious health consequences, including elevation of the stress hormone cortisol within the body.

Higher cortisol levels can lead to stress-induced behaviors like overindulgence in rich holiday foods and drinks, diminished physical activity/exercise and sleep deprivation, all of which can comprise your health.

Consistent stress negatively impacts your health, causing:

  • weight gain
  • high blood pressure
  • heart health issues
  • diabetes
  • cancers
  • depression and other health problems.

Your Capital Women’s Care team wants to share important tips on how you can keep your “inner Grinch” at bay and avoid holiday stress so you have greater opportunity for an “all is calm, all is right” stress-free holiday season.

10 Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

Memories of holidays past greatly influence our expectations. Keep stress and negative feelings at bay and enjoy your holiday with friends, family and loved ones with these tips.

  • Admit negative feelings. It’s important to be open about what you’re feeling with your partner. If your family experienced loss of a loved one or close friend or you can’t be with loved ones this holiday season, realize it’s perfectly normal to feel sadness and grief and express your feelings. Talking with your partner enriches your relationship while giving them insight into your thoughts and feelings.
  • Reach out and volunteer. If you experience feelings of loneliness and isolation, investigate community, religious or other social events, which can offer you support and companionship. Volunteering is a good way to lift your spirits, keep feelings of depression at bay while opening the door to develop new friendships. Volunteering is also a great way to teach children the joy of giving to others.
  • Have realistic expectations. Avoid thoughts and expectations of creating the perfect “Hallmark” holiday. Changes and growth occur in families through the years, as do family holiday traditions and rituals. Decide with your family which to keep and some new traditions to establish. If your children are grown and can’t visit as usual, set up an alternative new tradition.
  • Make a holiday plan. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan menus and make a shopping list to help prevent last-minute scrambling for forgotten ingredients. Enlist help for party preparations and cleanup.
  • Understand and accept others. Understand you can’t change behaviors and actions of family members and friends.  Table any grievances through the holidays. Be empathetic if others get upset or distressed, as they may also be experiencing holiday stress and feelings of depression.
  • Make a holiday budget and stick with it. Before you make any holiday food and gift purchases, decide how much you can afford to spend. Understand from the start that a mountain of gifts doesn’t buy happiness. Affordable gift alternatives include charity donations, homemade gifts and family gift exchange to lighten holiday spending.
  • Divide and conquer. Prioritize important components to your family’s holiday. Discuss limits on how much decorating, baking, gifting and family holiday activities. Have kids help with baking and decorating. Ask each family member to share their favorite holiday component and devise a holiday season comprised of each’s favorite. Have your spouse and older kids help with holiday shopping, wrapping and prep.
  • Learn to say no. Saying “yes” to all requests at the holidays can lead to experiencing feelings of resentment and being overwhelmed. It’s unrealistic to participate in every holiday activity. Avoid feelings of guilt and in-depth explanations when declining such requests.
  • Keep up healthy habits. Don't let the holiday season become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to feelings of stress and guilt. To curb holiday bingeing, enjoy a healthy snack before holiday parties so you don't go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks. Get plenty of sleep – plan to get 7 to 8 hours nightly. Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.
  • Make time for yourself. Spending time alone without distractions is refreshing to the mind, body and spirit. Do something that reduces stress and restores your inner calm: read a favorite book, enjoy a bubble bath, make time for a favorite hobby or have an uninterrupted cup of soothing tea while listening to your favorite music.

Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take control of the holidays and your holiday mindset. Learn and recognize your holiday triggers before they happen so you can squash negativity, which increases opportunity for you and your family to have a calm and joyful holiday season.

Your Capital Women’s Care team is here for you and your family should you have any questions or concerns. We wish you and your family joyous and healthy holidays and New Year. We also sincerely appreciate you entrusting your family’s personal healthcare with your local Capital Women’s Care family of caring, highly qualified healthcare professionals.

Our Mission

The providers of Capital Women's Care seek the highest quality medical and ethical standard in an environment that nurtures the spirit of caring for every woman.

 

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