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Do You Spell Your Holidays “S-T-R-E-S-S?”

Do You Spell Your Holidays “S-T-R-E-S-S?”

Christmas LuncheonWhen holiday jingle turns into holiday clamor, it’s time to step back and evaluate. Are you falling victim to the dreaded beast called “stress?” It’s easy to do. With all of the hustle, bustle, and great expectations, we all are vulnerable to the type of emotions that can threaten – or even damage – our health. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, we’re more likely to experience adverse health symptoms like tension headaches, digestive disorder flare-ups, and stress-related skin conditions. As stress weakens the immune system, we may even be vulnerable to more severe effects such as heart disease, including heart attacks. What can we do?

One major way to relieve holiday stress is to examine our thoughts and expectations. Are we dwelling on what went wrong in the past – or romanticizing previous holidays that will be impossible to recreate? What about focusing on finding the perfect gift or throwing the perfect party? Any of those things can turn the holidays sour in a hurry. It’s important to be realistic about expectations. Accept imperfections. Overestimate, rather than underestimate, the time it will take to accomplish tasks and eliminate anything unnecessary. It’s not as simple as it sounds but just learning to say no can help a cluttered schedule become much easier to accomplish.

Here are some other things to keep in mind as you de-clutter and de-stress your holidays:

  • Be realistic about what you can accomplish.
  • Reach out to others. The holidays are a great time to volunteer.
  • Set aside family differences and focus on the positives.
  • Plan ahead. Set a budget – and stick to it.
  • Find some time to be alone. Just 15 minutes a day can make a world of difference.
  • Halt the weight gain. Get some physical activity daily and grab a healthy snack before parties.
  • Get at least 7 hours a night of sleep and add a 20-minute power nap when you can.

De-stressing the holidays may not be as simple as it sounds but taking the time to step back and do a few things to take care of yourself is well worth the effort it takes. You’re worth it!



Author: Ginny Hinton –

Santa Rosa County Extension Agent with UF/IFAS. Focus areas include nutrition, food safety, injury prevention, and healthy families. Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from University of West Florida. Master’s degree in Public Health/Health Education from University of South Florida.

Living Well in the Panhandle