Tips to help manage holiday’s seasonal stress

The holidays are a fun, festive time for eggnog and gatherings with family and friends. Ironically, the holiday season can take a toll on your physical health and mental well-being. Common causes for this seasonal phenomenon may be attributed to shorter daylight hours, negotiating crowds, snarled traffic, financial burdens of gift giving, nostalgia for childhood, and a heightened sense of loss for deceased loved ones.

To help avoid a seasonal swoon:

  1. Pace yourself. Fatigue and exhaustion often accompany the hectic holiday hustle, weakening your immune system and leaving you susceptible to colds, seasonal influenza, and unpredictable COVID variants. Otherwise, healthy adults need about seven hours of restorative sleep each night.
  2. Don’t overspend. Whittle down your gift-giving list. Set a spending limit. January’s credit card bills can haunt you like uninvited ghosts from A Christmas Carol.
  3. Keep it real. Have realistic expectations about what you can accomplish. Don’t push yourself to attend every function. Doing less can help you enjoy the season more.
  4. Imbibe in moderation. Liquor is a proven depressant that can impair your decision making. A DWI will cause you trouble long after the holiday season has ended.
  5. Make new memories. The past is irretrievable. Create new holiday memories. The poet William Wordsworth once wrote: Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower; we will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind.
  6. Schedule an exam with a primary care physician. Make sure there aren’t undiagnosed health conditions waiting to put the brakes on today’s festivities and the days ahead.
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