'Tis the Season...To Be Stressed Out?
According to Morton C. Orman, M.D., author of the bestselling The 14-Day Stress Cure, the top causes of holiday stress are:
l Social and personal expectations
l Too many responsibilities
l Trying to change or control people
l Unpleasant memories
l Unpleasant emotions and other body reactions
l Blaming yourself or others when things go wrong
l Failing to anticipate likely problems and delays
l Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope with stress
l Expecting things to go well
l Expecting others to behave as you prefer
l Being single, divorced, widowed or separated
l Financial stress
Below are some suggestions on how to defuse your holiday stress and give you the chance to have your best holiday season ever (no pressure, though.)
l Be realistic: Put the holiday in perspective and avoid trying to please everyone.
l Visualize: Think about how you might handle unpleasant family interactions more positively.
l Exercise: Keep up a regular routine of exercise or start one if you don t already exercise.
l Use moderation: Don't go overboard on holiday spending and entertaining. Overspending during the holidays can lead to added post holiday stress.
l Have a sense of humor: Avoid taking the small things seriously.
l Help others: Take time to do something for someone else.
l Take time for yourself: Find time in your schedule to slow down and enjoy family and friends, and yourself.
l Manage the holiday "hype."
l Cut back on presents. Presents cost money and shopping takes time.
l Do less, not more. It may seem sacrilegious to actually relax and enjoy the holidays, but it can make the whole month a lot more fun. And the best way to relax is to cut back on activities.
l Be flexible. Tradition doesn’t have to mean rigidity.
l Look for creative solutions to problems.
l Ease family tensions by breaking up the old patterns and creating new ones.
l Have your major holiday meal catered.
l Don’t make eating and drinking the focus of get-togethers. Go caroling or hiking instead, or volunteer to serve food at a homeless shelter.
l Put a dollar limit on gift-giving.
l Shop early to avoid the holiday crowds.
l Shop online for out-of-town relatives and friends to avoid the long post-office lines.