From Lee Ann Watson, associate director, Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board
BATAVIA, OH — Happy Holidays! Tis’ the Season for parties, activities galore, gatherings with family and friends, gift-giving, and…stress! While the holidays are meant to bring feelings of joy and cheer, it often ends up creating stress for many people. It’s no wonder… the holidays bring a dizzying array of demands—shopping, baking, cleaning, entertaining, etc. on top of our already hectic schedules. While positive stress (or esters) is necessary for our survival and zest for life, too much stress has a negative impact on our mental and physical health. With some practical tips, you can minimize your holiday stress.
- Don’t overcommit yourself. Too many activities can result in feeling overwhelmed, which in turn leads to stress. Decide what traditions offer the most positive impact or enjoyment and eliminate those that don’t. Set limits on what you will do this holiday season. You don’t have to say yes to everything. If you are too busy to bake those holiday cookies, buy some at the store!
- Eat and drink in moderation. An overabundance of parties can result in many people eating and drinking to excess. Enjoy the merriment, but also maintain control of healthy behaviors. The average person can gain up to 10 pounds during the holiday season. Avoid the guilt and stress of having to diet by eating and drinking in moderation. Have a healthy snack before the party so you aren’t tempted to eat lots of sweets, etc. And most importantly, don’t drink and drive!
- Spend in moderation. Finding affordable holiday gifts can be stressful in its self, not to mention braving the mall with the crowds of people. Develop a budget, and stick to it. Holiday debt creates stress that can last months after the holidays are over. Avoid the debt by planning ahead and save money for holiday gifts. Be creative… make your gifts or provide someone with a ‘service’ for a gift (car washing, house cleaning, baking) or do a family gift exchange.
- Slow down and make time for yourself. Spend 15 minutes alone…. walk, read a book, take a bubble bath… slowing your mind, and restoring inner piece goes a long way in providing you with balance in order to accomplish all the activities of the season.
- Seek professional health if you need it. If despite your best efforts, you find yourself constantly feeling sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep or sleeping too much, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face daily activities, reach out for help and support. There might be more going on than stress. Mental health professionals are available 24/7 at the Clermont County Crisis Hotline 513-528-SAVE.
Hopefully, with these tips, you can slow down and enjoy the holidays!