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.

3 Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

The holiday season is a stressful time for many people for a variety of reasons. For some it might be the pressure of buying gifts or the burden of hosting, while others might have concerns about the financial strain associated with the holidays.

No matter your situation, it’s important not to let the natural stressors that accompany the holidays ruin the season for you. Most factors that lead to stress during the holidays are manageable through the application of mindfulness techniques and an active effort to remember the things that matter most: showing love and appreciation to the people around you and making happy memories with those people.

Some tips for maintaining this perspective and preserving the positive energy of the holiday season for yourself and your family include:

Reminding yourself that your efforts are good enough: Strict expectations to find the perfect gift, make your home look perfect before guests arrive, or to cook the perfect holiday dinner may prevent you from enjoying any of these activities (or their results). Remind yourself that there is no need for perfection in any of these areas and that what matters most is doing the best you can to ensure that your loved ones have the opportunity to enjoy the holiday season with you.

Releasing yourself from the expectations and opinions of other people: For many people, the thoughts and expectations of others may cause as much pressure (or more) as their own. However, you cannot control how the people around you view you or your efforts. Instead, resolve to be kind to those around you, regardless of their stated opinions, and make a conscious choice to only hold yourself to your own expectations.

Planning goals instead of making resolutions: As the New Year approaches, people often set “New Year’s resolutions” for themselves that, while indicative of goals they may truly care about, often die out within weeks. An approach that is more likely to succeed involves making a detailed, step-by-step plan for achieving the goal you have in mind, starting small and making incremental progress forward on a set timeline.

If your holiday stress is causing (or stems from) mental health problems, you can schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Mental Health Clinic by calling (718) 206-5575.

If you are experiencing a mental health emergency such as suicidal contemplation, please call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s confidential, 24/7 National Help Line at 1-800-662-4357.

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’s Tips For Dealing with Holiday Stress

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Dr. Madhu Rajanna- Director of the Mental Health Clinic and Assistant Director of the Psychiatry Residency program

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.

Do The Holidays Stress You Out? Follow These Tips

HolidayStress134936674The holidays are supposed to be about joy and merriment, but for many they can become a very stressful time of year.

The average American spends 42 hours a year on holiday activities including, shopping, wrapping presents, decorating, attending holiday parties, and traveling from place to place. Often, these extra activities get squeezed into our already busy schedules.

Our schedules are not the only thing being squeezed during the holidays; so too are our wallets. The holidays promote gift giving, but to what extent? Buying something for everyone on your list can be a very stressful situation, especially when you are on a budget.

To help you enjoy avoid holiday stress and enjoy this very special time of year, try following these simple tips:

• Take Calm-Down Breaks. Soon after you awake, close your eyes, take several deep breaths and meditate or just relax. Quieting down your mind before you begin your day can help it get off to a great start and things will flow for you.

• Create the Holiday You Want – When the holidays come around, you may find yourself getting pulled in many different directions. Don’t give in to outside pressures. Decide how do you want to spend your time and resources. Consider what is most important to you and what memories you want to create.

• Stick to a Budget – Unfortunately, so many people cause their own stress by overspending during the holidays. Try to start saving for the upcoming holiday season early in the year. Sit down and look to see what you can really afford before you start shopping.

• Be Generous With Your Heart – One of the best ways to stay calm, content and cheerful this time of year is to act generously with your loved ones, co-workers and friends. This doesn’t  mean you have to spend a lot of money though.

• Get Moving – One of the best ways to overcome stress during the holidays or any other time is to exercise regularly. Physical activity not only boosts your fitness and energy levels but can also elevate your mood.

• Eat Healthy- Inevitably, at this time of year, you’ll be constantly tempted with sweet, empty-calorie treats. But to be your most energetic, focused and happy self, it’s best to avoid the sugary snacks and eat healthier options.

Hopefully, by following these recommendations, your holidays can be calm, relaxing and fun.

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.