An annual cocktail of joy and dread, the holiday season exposes us to stressors that can unnerve even the most strong–willed person. The top holiday anxiety triggers, according to the Mayo Clinic, are relationships, finances, and physical demands. These burdens can unearth symptoms such as nervousness, sadness, exhaustion, decreased motivation/energy, headaches, muscle tension, indigestion, and dizziness, notes the American Psychological Association. This can put your health at risk.
- So if your holiday cheer feels farther away than the North Pole, consider these stress busters:
- Stay healthy: Lift weights, go for a run, or take a walk. Easier said than done with a packed schedule, but worth it — these activities will boost your energy and stamina.
- Sleep more: Light stretching, a hot bath, and a few minutes of quiet solitude can help you unwind before bedtime and sleep soundly.
- Just say no: As if shopping, cooking, planning, and entertaining weren’t enough, suddenly you’re invited to 4 parties. Remember: You’re only one person. Be realistic.
- Plan ahead: Set a holiday spending budget and avoid impulse purchases. Do your best to set and stick to a schedule.
- Consider help: Stress can be magnified for those grieving the loss of a loved one or enduring a divorce or breakup. The APA lists these indications that stress requires professional help: feeling trapped, like there’s nowhere to turn; worrying excessively and being unable to concentrate; and experiencing impact on sleep, eating habits, job, relationships, or everyday life.