As the holiday season approaches, we excitedly anticipate the cool, crisp weather, time spent with family and friends, good meals, and the spirit of giving that embodies the winter holidays. However, the holidays are often a source of stress that can be an unnecessary burden and detrimental to one’s health. Keep your emotions in check and the holidays happy with these tips for managing holiday stress.

Tip 1 for Managing Holiday Stress: Manage Your Expectations

As you head into the winter months, take inventory of your expectations for yourself and others. Make a list of what you plan to accomplish this holiday season, then cross off anything that is unrealistic or may pose undue holiday stress. While considering your expectations and additional obligations, make room in your schedule to maintain your regular routine.

Tip 2 for Managing Holiday Stress: Plan Ahead

Don’t wait until the last minute to shop for gifts or prepare the holiday feast. Create a to-do list and give yourself ample time to complete your tasks. Shopping for gifts is fun when you aren’t competing with the clock, and you will have more options available earlier in the season. Be on the lookout for gifts while you are out and about, and prepare and freeze foods whenever possible. You can also take the anxiety out of finding the perfect gift by asking friends and family for a wish list.

Tip 3 for Managing Holiday Stress: Don’t Overcommit

One of the most joyful parts of the holiday season is the time spent with friends and family. However, your schedule is likely to be slammed with holiday parties, school performances, and traditional family gatherings during the winter months. The pressure to socialize can be daunting and threatens to rob you of your holiday cheer. Don’t be afraid to politely decline an invitation or re-evaluate holiday traditions, even if you’re planning to spend the extra time decompressing at home or crossing a few things off your to-do list.

Tip 4 for Managing Holiday Stress: Avoid Overindulging

Overindulgence during the holiday season can often lead to unwanted weight gain, as well as cause an unhealthy spike in sugar and salt intake. Be conscious of this potential pitfall and avoid overeating and overdrinking. It also helps to have three well-balanced meals instead of abstaining from meals in anticipation of the holiday feast. Crunch crisp veggies, dip into healthy hummus, and have a balanced lunch to curb the urge to overindulge.

Tip 5 for Managing Holiday Stress: Keep Exercising

Vacations and visitors can put a wrench in your workout routine, but you can still maintain an exercise regimen during the holidays. Make it a priority to get fresh air and move your body, even when you are feeling overwhelmed or short on time. If you can’t make it to the gym, take a brisk walk outside, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or play with the kids to get your heart pumping.

Try These Stress Reducers

Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself stressed this season. There are several proven  ways to reduce stress. Mangoes, music, laughing, and sunlight are all stress busters that can boost endorphins and help you managing holiday stress.

Above all, avoid the temptation to get caught up in the trappings of holiday celebrations. Make it a priority to enjoy family and friends, while taking care of yourself and cherishing memories made. From the Trinity Medical Group family to yours, we wish you a happy, stress-free holiday!