Health Team

Learn to Lower Holiday Stress

Posted November 30, 2006 8:42 a.m. EST

— The holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy, but sometimes it can be pretty stressful. The WRAL Health Team offers some suggestions to keep your stress level low during this time of year.

For some people, the holiday season only magnifies personal problems. Experts with the Mayo Clinic suggest acknowledging your feelings.

The holidays can also be a time to seek support with family members, friends, or with those of shared faith.

Health experts suggest being realistic about family traditions, especially when family is scattered over great distances. If you cannot get everyone together, share pictures, e-mails or videotapes instead.

Another idea is to set aside differences with family and friends. The holiday season may not be the best time to bring up grievances, so accept people as they are.

One way to reduce holiday stress related to shopping is sticking to a budget. Decide how much you can afford to spend on gifts and other items. Also, plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities.

Another important thing is to learn to say no. People will understand if you can't be everywhere and do everything. Only say yes to the things you really want to do.

Try not to abandon healthy habits and be sure to get plenty of sleep.

Plus, make time for a nice jog or at least a brisk walk each day. But, allow time for yourself to relax.

Lastly, forget about perfection. Holiday movies are full of happy endings, but things may go better if we expect the unexpected and accept imperfection.