Don't let tension stress out your holidays

  • Published
  • By Sheri Ward
  • Family Advocacy Clinic
Holiday tensions can be caused by the travel, expense of seasonal shopping, weather, expectations on the perfect gift, children out of school and family obligations real or perceived. It's important to take care of yourself and reduce your level of stress during this holiday season.

Parents can become easily agitated and frustrations can escalate during this time of year. What usually starts out as a fun and happy time for a family can become devastating when parents or caregivers lose control.

Physical stress is preceded by mental and emotional stress. Headaches and backaches occur when you put the weight of the world on your shoulders. These negative energies can also lead to anxiety and depression.

Try these strategies to reduce physical stress:
  • When stress starts building, breathe deeply. Deep breathing relaxes the neck and shoulders allowing tension to exit the body.
  • Laugh. When family situations or concerns start causing stress, learn to see the humor in the situation. Laughter reduces stress and helps to increase enjoyment of life.
  • Nutrient - make sure you eat low fat foods, fruits and vegetables to keep your body healthy.
  • Journaling to release your emotions help clarify thoughts and feelings.
  • Treat yourself to a massage. Massage helps the body heal itself by enhancing the functions of the tissues.
Pre-planning can also help reduce mental or emotional stress. Here are a few tips to help reduce stress and allow for flexibility for last minute changes:
  • Plan your holiday shopping in advance, take advantage of on-line purchases and stick to your budget. Wrap your gifts as they are received or purchased.
  • Delegate, delegate, delegate! Many of us tend to take on all the responsibilities. This leads to an overload of stress - especially when things don't work out exactly as planned. Make household chores a family effort and trade jobs with friends with special talents. You want to enjoy the holidays as well.
  • Take a few days off work to wind down and re-group
  • Make notes - not only will this help you to remember tasks, appointments and deadlines but you can jot down notes to help you next year. What holiday plans were successful and what didn't work out.
For more information on handling holiday stress, call the Family Advocacy Clinic at 676-2271.