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How to Keep the "Happy" in Your Holidays

  • Category: General Health
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Matt Gougler
How to Keep the "Happy" in Your Holidays

For a significant portion of the population, the ubiquitous phrase “Happy Holidays” is something of an oxymoron. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, during the December holidays:

  • 69% of people are stressed about having a “lack of time;”
  • 69% are stressed by a perceived “lack of money;” and,
  • 51% feel stressed over the “pressure to give gifts.”

Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

Not only is holiday stress just plain unpleasant, but it also can negatively impact both mental and physical health. Keeping December stress in check should thus be a priority. Most sources of said stress apply equally to the workplace and home front, so ATRIO Health Plans offers the following tips with that dual application in mind.

  • Don’t take everything personally—Chances are, you’re not alone in your holiday stress; more than likely, it’s also affecting your coworkers and family members. Consequently, if a coworker or relative slights you in some way, let it slide – as their actions probably have little to do with you.
  • Determine what can wait or be eliminated entirely—The holidays aren’t the time to be an on-the-job or at-home overachiever. Determine which items on your work and personal to-do lists can be postponed until after the holidays, or eliminated altogether.
  • Remember that calories still count—At office parties and home gatherings, there's a tendency during the holidays to throw portion control and calories to the wind. While overindulging one day isn't a disaster, overeating throughout the entire month can not only result in adding difficult-to-lose weight, but also can negatively impact blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Avoid allergy triggers—Sneezing through the holiday season unquestionably will increase stress levels. Allergy triggers include holiday decorations that have been stored away all year and are now coated with dust. Many people also are allergic to real Christmas trees; an artificial tree is an attractive, sneeze-free alternative.
  • Pick and choose your holiday activities—You don’t have to attend every office celebration or personal party to which you're invited. You also don't have to adhere to every holiday tradition just because you always have. For sanity's sake, consider letting some of them go.
  • Reduce risk by washing—Between changes in the weather and people interacting more at social events, it's not surprising that the incidence of colds and flu spike during the holiday season. The keys to avoiding these holiday maladies include washing your hands frequently and getting ample sleep.
  • Take care of your body—In the midst of a busy schedule, the last thing you may have time for is yourself. Yet, a balanced diet – along with daily physical activity – can relieve stress and keep your moods on an even keel.
  • Hold on to your sense of humor—Studies show that laughter, and even the anticipation of laughter, can lighten moods. It may be difficult to chuckle when you're in the midst of a holiday meltdown, but taking time to laugh can be a great stress antidote.
  • Look for ways to help others—When you’re overwhelmed, responding to the needs of oth­ers – at work or in your off time – can relieve anxieties and put your problems in perspec­tive. Volunteering for a community project, or helping a friend in need, can also be beneficial. If you remember to give as well as receive, the odds of achieving holiday happiness will increase significantly.

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