Your How-to Guide for Avoiding Holiday Stress and Guilt

Don't let holiday stress wear you down this season

Holiday stress is the #1 culprit of seasonal weight gain, illness, infection and fatigue. It’s the arch nemesis of any well-intended season meant for charitable giving, time spent with loved ones and reflection on all things which matter to us. Who wants that burden hanging around?

Still, research from the American Psychological Association reveals some not-so-merry statistics that are perhaps representative of American holiday culture:

  • Up to 69 percent of people are stressed about “not having enough time.”
  • Up to 69 percent of people are stressed about finances.
  • Up to 51 percent of people are stressed about gift-giving pressure.

Tips for Combating Holiday Stress

Prolonged stress can zap the “jolly” out of just about anyone, but who wants to be Scrooge during the most festive time of year? Consider these tips for sweeping stress out the front door:

Switch-up Old “Traditions”

Traditions don’t have to stay the exact same. If you’re usually a holiday host, ask everyone to contribute a new dish so you’re not saddled with intense dinner prep. Or, ask a loved one to host holiday festivities this year. You might even consider swapping a night out on the town with an evening inside baking cookies, watching new movies and listening to old records.

Spread-out Family Visits

As we age and start new families of our own, our holiday time is spread thin. Rather than choosing a weekend to visit your grandparents, then your brothers/sisters and then your aunts, uncles and cousins, divide your family visitations throughout the entire holiday season.

Stay Physically Active

Exercise of all kinds not only burns calories, but releases mood-boosting endorphins to kick holiday stress to the curb. Bundle up, lace up your sneakers and get moving!

Munch on Healthy Holiday Goods

Studies show that too much “indulgence” can lead to feelings of guilt and distress, especially among those of us managing our weight. Snack on healthy red/green goodies such as watermelon and strawberries, leafy greens and modified recipes to fight fatigue and stay confident.

Don’t Isolate Yourself

The holidays can be rough if you struggle with mood disorders or if you’ve lost a loved one. It may be tempting to keep to yourself, but strive to get a little social. If you’re feeling left out, there are plenty of places to see holiday lights, eat good food and listen to upbeat music.

Don’t Bust Your Wallet

Take stock of what you’re comfortably able to spend on gifts, food and decor this holiday season. Set a budget and don’t stray from it, regardless of the pressure. Remember that most people are content with small, meaningful gifts, or even just your simple company.

Wrap-up the Year: Holiday Style

It may also help you to keep in mind the meaning of the season. This is a time to reflect on what you’re grateful for, gather together with your loved ones and look ahead to the start of a new year — because 2019 is on the way! Let those reminders EXCITE you, not stress you out!

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