What's not to be stressed about?

I mean, take your pick, A) a pandemic, B) working and learning from home, C) losing a job, D) trying to figure out how to pay your bills, feed your family, and keep a roof over all of your heads!

Add to this -  unexpected expenses that contribute to existing Christmas financial stress. Car problems, surprise medical costs, family tensions, and disagreements that spill over into the holidays, "the expense of gifts and food, the pressure of shopping and the expectations of the season".

That last one - expectations - that one is a biggy. You have personal expectations of yourself when it comes to entertaining your family and friends. Your family and friends have expectations of you, so does your workplace, and there is never enough time to get everything done!

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Carrying the heavy emotional burdens of sorrow, loneliness, and depression into the holiday season can be nearly unbearable for some people.

It can lead to -

unhealthy behaviors such as overeating, poor food choices, impacted sleep schedule, feelings of anxiety...among other issues.- -Sanford Health via Sioux Falls Woman magazine


So What Can You Do To Reduce Stress During the Holidays?

  • Don't strive for perfection, that's not the point of Christmas anyway
  • Learn to say "no"
  • Ask for help. Whether that means simply getting organized or helping to decorate the tree, or baking the cookies.
  • Ask for help/Part 2 . Also if the emotions, expectations, sadness and other burdens have become too much to bear, reach out for professional help. There are so many resources that can help ease your pain.
  • Exercise. It produces endorphins that control stress hormones
  • Your mother's suggestion to "drink plenty of water" is based in reality. Dehydration adds to stress.
  • Try to keep your sleep schedule consistent and shut down the electronics.
  • Take a break from all the bad news in the world - don't watch it on the tube or look for it on your phone.
  • Think about dropping "expensive, high-stress rituals. No, you don't have to drag "your kids to The Nutcracker" because "it's a tradition!"
  • Schedule breaks
  • Do something the makes you happy!

That last tip is the thing your loved ones truly want for you and for themselves. The trick is getting there. Remember that Christmas isn't about things, it's supposed to be about love.

Sources: Better Health Channel, Woman's Day, and Sanford Health via Sioux Falls Woman magazine

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