Christmas is supposed to be filled with joy and gratefulness but more often than not, families are feeling the pressure of keeping up with “The Joneses”. The kids typically spend Thanksgiving day looking at the ads and dreaming of the things that they would love to get for Christmas. As parents, we want our kids to fill loved and get the items that they have been wishing for all year long. However, there is no reason for anyone to go overboard or go into debt just to make everyone else happy.
The closer it gets to Christmas even, the more stress you are likely going to feel. But there is no need to let holiday stress bother you this year. Not only is stress unhealthy it can actually cause your health to deteriorate as well. Put your holiday to-do list down and see what you can do to help reduce your holiday stress.
What are the Negative Effects of Holiday Stress?
Stress triggers a cascade of hormones to be released that causes your body to kick into survival mode. When your body is in survival mode, your muscles are tense, beads of sweat may appear on your forehead, notice your heart beating harder, and your breathing increased. The flight or fight mode was created to help your body naturally respond to life-threatening situations.
With the upcoming holiday quickly approaching, if you are constantly feeling stressed out, you can keep your body in the fight or flight response mode. Being in a state of constant fight or flight isn’t healthy and your body will start suppressing functions that are needed for survival. Chronic stress can trigger unwanted health problems and can interfere with daily living. Dealing with chronic stress during the holidays isn’t worth causing these 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. While death is highly unlikely with holiday stress but if you are always under constant stress, you need to talk to your health care provider immediately..
Common Signs of Holiday Stress
Everyone handles holiday stress differently but that doesn’t mean that it is justified your holiday stress in your mind. The best way to deal with holiday stress is to learn the common signs and symptoms so that you can adjust your life accordingly. Preventing holiday stress is the best way to go but I get it, sometimes life gets out of control. Look for these signs if you think that holiday stress is the culprit:
- 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. 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 and learn to say “no”
- go outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine
- stick to your healthy habits
- don’t stress about everything being perfect
- set aside any differences or family issues
- limit alcoholic beverages
- try diffusing essential oils such as lavender or Peace & Harmony (aff link)
- 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.