During the holiday season, many of us struggle to complete an extensive list of tasks in what often feels like very little time. We run rampant decorating our homes, attending social gatherings, shopping for loved ones, volunteering, traveling or cooking. These activities are often added to our already busy schedules, which can make us feel overwhelmed.
Contrary to what we may think, these activities which should make us feel happy can actually increase our stress levels.
Although there are various factors such as unrealistic expectations or financial strain that contribute to holiday stress, finding ways to avoid stressors or minimize their effects is very important. If stress is not managed well, it can have a significantly negative impact on our health.
Dr. Madhu Rajanna; Director of the Mental Health Clinic and Assistant Director of the Psychiatry Residency program at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center offers five tips to help you cope with holiday stress and maintain good mental health:
- Set realistic goals– Unrealistic goals often equal added pressure and expectations that cannot be met. If these goals are not met, they can lead to negative feelings such as inadequacy or hopelessness.
- Know when to take a moment for yourself (Take a break) – We are often pulled in multiple directions during this time of the year. Know when to take a breather to decompress and clear your mind.
- Communicate- The added pressures of the holidays are clearly overwhelming and one of the ways that people sometimes deal with this is to isolate themselves. This is not recommended; instead, reach out to loved ones or a trained mental health professional to communicate how you feel.
- Do not neglect healthy habits– Taking good care of your health can help combat holiday stress. Moderating your food intake, fitting in a few minutes of exercise and getting adequate amounts of sleep can be profoundly beneficial for your health. Additionally, maintaining a healthy daily routine can help take your mind off holiday demands.
- Ask for help- We live in a time where multitasking has become the norm but if you begin to feel overwhelmed, ask for help. Soliciting the help of friends or family can alleviate some of the holiday pressure. The holidays can also trigger depression; if you are experiencing symptoms of depression ask for help from loved ones or seek the assistance of a mental health professional.
The holiday season can be overwhelming; however, by applying Dr. Rajanna’s helpful tips you can take the steps needed to minimize stress and make this time of year more enjoyable. If you find that you continue to experience elevated levels of stress or symptoms of depression, it is recommended that you seek the help of mental health professional immediately.
To schedule an appointment with the Mental Health Clinic at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 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.