Christmas time is supposed to be a joyous time of the year. But instead, more and more people are feeling the pressure to keep up with “The Joneses”. They go overboard to try and do their best to accommodate the growing shopping desires for family and friends.
Are you starting to feel the pressure of holiday stress? With the holidays less than a month away and the to-do list growing, holiday stress doesn’t have to get the best of you. Learn more about the health consequences of stress during the holidays.
Negative Effects of Holiday Stress
Holiday stress can cause your body to a fight or flight response. The constant fight or flight response is continually firing in small bursts. The frequent small bursts can cause your body to suppress functions that are needed for immediate survival. Stress can trigger unwanted health problems such as obesity, heart problems, depression or anxiety, gastrointestinal problems, asthma, lowered immune system, increased risk of suicide, premature aging, and even death.
Signs of Holiday Stress
Everyone handles holiday stress differently but that doesn’t mean that it is justified in your mind. Here are a few signs that it might be holiday stress getting the best of you:
- short fused
- no longer satisfied with your job or other areas of your life
- crying spells
- binge eating
- emotional eating
- missing deadlines
- hiding from family or friends
- easily frustrated
Ways to Reduce Stress During the Holidays
We wanted to take the time to share this information with you because holiday stress can be avoided with a bit of planning. You can read our tips here and here. Women don’t be surprised if you feel the brunt of the holiday stress (sorry men). But women generally take on more of the holiday planning, shopping, and even meal preparation for guests so they tend to get stress out if everything isn’t perfect.
Here are a few ways to help reduce holiday stress:
- get some exercise
- make a to-do list
- stick to your budget
- delegate tasks as needed
- don’t overcommit
- get some sunshine (with shorter days it is easy to experience winter blues)
- stick to your healthy habits
- don’t stress about everything being perfect
- set aside any differences or family issues
- limit the alcohol
- diffuse essential oils
- indulge in self-care
Holiday Stress Management Infographic
Infographic Credit: True Stress Management
The closer the holidays get, the more stressed out that you are likely feeling. Holiday expectations always seem to get bigger and bigger with each passing year. Often times we don’t realize how we fall into the “more, more mentality” or strive to “keep up with the Joneses”. Knowing the signs and symptoms of stress at Christmas time can help increase your overall awareness. When you are feeling stressed out from the holidays, take a step back from reality and take a few deep breaths. We hope that you have a stress-free holiday with your family and friends.