Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

Woman looking sad in front of a Christmas tree.For many people, the holiday season can be a stressful time. Whether you’re experiencing financial difficulties, relationship issues with loved ones, or health problems that interfere with your ability to enjoy the holidays, it’s important to have effective ways to manage these causes of stress to prevent them from disrupting your holiday season. Some steps you may consider taking include:

Setting reasonable expectations for yourself: Circumstances such as cost or availability may sometimes make it difficult to accomplish certain things during the holiday season, such as getting an expensive gift for someone or hosting a big family dinner. To avoid stress, don’t over-extend yourself; instead, recognize what you can reasonably accomplish with the time and resources you have. Set realistic expectations for any gift-giving, hosting, or other responsibilities you have for the holidays.

Learning to de-escalate (or avoid) conflicts: Some holiday gatherings may bring family members together who don’t get along well. Conflict at these gatherings can create negative experiences for everyone involved, so it’s helpful to consider ways in which you can de-escalate them. If you’re hosting, try to steer the conversation into a more friendly direction; if the conflict escalates, remove the involved members from the gathering. Alternatively, it can also help to remove yourself from the situation, particularly if you’re one of the people directly involved in the conflict.

Keeping up with therapy: If you regularly attend therapy sessions for your mental health, try to maintain this schedule during the holiday season. While this part of the year can become extremely busy for many people, therapy can be an important outlet for stress, as well as a tool to help you learn coping mechanisms throughout the holidays.

If you need a psychiatrist to help you manage mental health problems, such as severe stress, that worsen during the holiday season, you can schedule a therapy appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry by calling (718) 206-5575.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Dr. Anna Kuzel Shares Holiday Health Tips

Holiday Health Tips

December is a time of joy and celebration for many, but can also be stressful. When your routine is disrupted and you are surrounded by indulgent food, it is more difficult to make healthy choices. Here are some ideas to stay well this holiday season.

Depriving yourself of holiday treats can backfire and lead to over-eating. Instead, have a small portion of your favorite dish or dessert without seconds. Try substituting starchy and fattening side-dishes with a vegetable dish such as green beans. In between large meals continue to have regular, small meals with fruits, vegetables and protein.

Making time for exercise will increase your energy, improve your mood and help with digestion. Taking a short walk or practicing yoga for a few minutes has the added benefit of clearing your mind from holiday stress.

If you like to enjoy alcoholic beverages at parties, the US Department of Health recommends limiting alcoholic beverages to 1-2 drinks per day. Choose wine or light beer which are lower in sugar and calories than cocktails. Also, try alternating a glass of water with each alcoholic drink to counteract the dehydrating effects of alcohol.

The holidays are a chance to connect with family and friends for some but can feel lonely for others. If you don’t usually celebrate with family, consider reaching out to friends or neighbors. Volunteering can also make you feel connected to your community while improving your own sense of gratitude and well-being. On the other hand, if you find yourself spread too thin with obligations, it is okay to say no to certain events. It’s important to take time for self-care such as reading, taking a bath or meditating.

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can interrupt your medication routine. It is important, especially for those with chronic conditions to remember to take their medication as this can lead to serious complications. You may find it helpful to set a daily alarm as a reminder or set medication bottles next to something used daily, such as your toothbrush, water glass or your nightstand.

This time of year is also the peak of the cold and flu season; therefore, it’s important to take steps to prevent the spread of infection. Remember to wash your hands frequently, and remind every family member over the age of 6 months to have their flu shot.

Consider these ideas to keep your holiday celebrations a little bit healthier and enjoy the season!

Anna Kuzel D.O. Family Medicine Physician

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.