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Holiday Stress & Self-Care

Holiday Stress and Self-Care
Dr. Beau A. Nelson, Chief Clinical Officer, FHE Health

Research shows that many people report increased stress during the holiday season. Planning the perfect holiday gathering, adding more purchases on a tight budget, attending more social events, the pressure to create forever memories— these things can really add to our already busy lives. For some, there is sadness and grief over past traumas and broken memories, or losses that we feel more acutely during the holidays. Keeping tabs on your emotional health, addressing stress head-on, and taking actionable steps to help yourself cope and thrive are therefore essential to surviving the holidays.

Whether the holidays are a special time that we want to remain present for or extremely stressful and difficult for various reasons, the following self-care tips can be vital to our physical, mental, and emotional well-being….

Taking Care of Physical Health
In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is important to remember to take care of ourselves and to check in to make sure we are not overdoing it. COVID is still a concern; add to that the heightened risks of flu and RSV, a quickly spreading respiratory illness, and we all need to be mindful of our physical health.

It’s also important to be thinking about how to keep our families and friends safe during holiday gatherings. In the absence of last year’s extreme precautions, we can still be mindful to keep our social events safe and avoid spreading sickness when we can. Exercising caution and staying home when we’re not feeling well is one way to do that.

Other Healthy Self-Care Habits
Self-care during the holidays can also involve tempering expectations and being mindful of what is good enough given our individual situations. If inflation makes it hard to travel or buy a car full of groceries, scaling down may be a better option this year.

If you are feeling stressed, taking time for yourself, asking for help, or making adjustments that help you cope, are good forms of stress management. It’s also always good to make sure you’re still maintaining your healthy habits during the holiday season. This means focusing on the basics, such as making sure you’re eating well and getting enough sleep, exercise, and social support. Take time to go for a walk, practice a spiritual discipline, talk things over with a friend, spend some time in nature, or take a stress break and do nothing but be present with yourself for a few minutes.

Enjoying the holidays means being in touch with ourselves and being mindful of the balance that is healthy for each of us. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, don’t feel afraid to adapt to changing needs, and be mindful of who you are and what you need along the way. Each one of us is so special and we all deserve an opportunity to celebrate and be healthy.

Dealing with holiday stress is just like anytime we are out of balance. Early detection, a course correction where needed, extra support, or moments of compassion and calm to re-center are important. You are worth it.

If you find yourself in need of help or are feeling overwhelmed, please reach out to Janet Gerhard, Director of Public Affairs at FHE Health, at (267) 249-0513.