Combating Holiday Stress

By Emily Murray

With Christmas just 2 days away, the hustle and bustle of the season may be starting to take it’s toll on you right as the main event is near. You have been baking, shopping, shipping, decorating and entertaining for nearly a month and chances are you may be forgetting to take care of yourself. All this adds up to a few different things – exhaustion, irritability and even an increase in illness.

I have witnessed this first-hand. The holiday angst was at an all time high at the post office as yesterday marked the last day to ship packages without facing an even larger fee to get items to loved ones by Christmas.  I was one of the last minute present shippers and no sooner did I step in line was I face to face with a woman with  beautifully wrapped Christmas packages,who quickly snapped at anyone within earshot. Her husband looked embarrassed – those in line patiently waiting to mail their own packages regarded her with a  strange mix of sympathy and irritation. So how come ordinary, kind people become parking space stealing, line-cutting monsters during the holidays? Money, family, stress and lack of sleep are just a few of the things that drive some to act out of character around the holidays.

So if you feel yourself beginning to lose grip, here are a few ideas for regaining sanity and enjoying the holidays to their fullest.

1. Get Your Sleep
Lack of sleep is one of the fastest ways to start down the path of holiday discontent. Not only will it make you irritable and affect your concentration, but according to a new study, it may also make you less attractive! That’s probably one of the last things you want during a season marked with entertaining – in-laws, family, friends and photos…it can all be overwhelming when the outward signs of your lack of sleep begin catching up with you.

2. Don’t overindulge
When it comes to food and drink, it can be easy to go overboard leaving you with indigestion or perhaps even the dreaded holiday hangover. If you are entertaining, buy some sparkling water and limes. Sip this instead of alcohol all night and no one will notice you aren’t drinking. You will remain hydrated and will feel comfortable with a drink in your hand. When it comes to avoiding the holiday pig out, go in with a game plan. Avoid mindless eating and decide just how much you will allow yourself before you start heading back for another heaping plate full.

3. Take time for YOU
Of course you love your family, friends and even the in-laws but spending all your time entertaining, or attending parties, can leave you feeling a bit detached from your ordinary schedule. Try to stick to your regular eating, exercise and sleeping schedule. If you have a house full of guests, simply excuse yourself for a moment of exercise or even s moment of relaxation.

Enjoying the holidays means you have to be feeling your best. Studies have shown that otherwise healthy people experience an increase in health related problems around the holiday including high blood pressure, chest pains and a variety of stomach bugs and colds easily spread during holiday travel. Make sure to use hand sanitizer, get plenty of rest and enjoy the holidays – after all they only come one a year!