The holiday season is when sleigh bells ring and choirs sing; but not everyone can enjoy the peaceful and celebratory nature of the holidays. Instead, most people scurry about, taking care of last-minute shopping, running between parties, and meeting year-end deadlines at work. The result is the unwelcome holiday stress.
“Stress is so often manifested physically in our bodies,” says Dr. Richard Cole, chiropractic neurologist. “We see many patients who are suffering physically because of typical stress this time of year.” Emotional and physical stress has harmful effects on nearly every system of the body, increasing muscle tension, joint dysfunction, and pain perception. But there are simple ways to reduce our stress response and have a more pleasant and healthy season.
To Reduce Holiday Stress:
- Focus on what’s truly important to you, such as family, friends, the real meaning of the holiday, etc. Reprioritizing will keep things in perspective.
- Be selective about what you obligate yourself to do. Schedule down-time and put margins in your day.
- Make a budget and stick to it. Don’t try to keep up with everyone else. Enjoy spending with what you can afford.
- Shop so you don’t drop. Take a day off to complete as much of your shopping as possible and don’t wait until the last-minute. Catalogs and internet shopping make it possible to avoid large crowds and traffic jams.
- Schedule a special time with your family and friends. Spending time with loved ones is enjoyable and has been shown to benefit your health.
- Let go of minor irritations over which you have no control. It’s not the end of the world if you are five minutes late or the gift-wrap doesn’t look the best.
- Exercise regularly with 20-40 minutes of aerobic activity. Exercise releases endorphins in your body that help regulate your mood and relieve stress.
- Don’t dwell on past mistakes. Live in the present and focus on the opportunities and blessings it offers.
- Eat mostly fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Your body needs all the good nutrients it can get. By choosing nutrient dense foods, you will equip your body with the tools it needs for daily healing and repair.
- Don’t ignore your health. Pain and discomfort shouldn’t be a part of your holiday. Consult your doctor at CPTG about symptoms you may have.