Reduce Stress and Make the Most of the Christmas Season

December 20, 2018

Ron Stahl, MD

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year...”  These are the words in one of the more common songs this time of year. While the holidays are a festive and fun time, they can also be a tough time for many. The Christmas season can bring on many stressors that make enjoying ourselves difficult. Psychologists have identified common stressors this time of year and have recommendations on how to reduce stress and make the most of the season.

Set a budget and stick to it. One of the pitfalls of the Christmas season is all of the advertising setting expectations of what everyone “needs” to buy for your friends and family. Set a budget. You do not need to buy the most expensive or largest gifts. Often, those given from the heart mean the most. Perhaps consider making a gift instead of buying one, thus making it very personal.

Set boundaries and prioritize. If you are feeling pulled in too many directions, take a moment to step back and prioritize. Not everything has to be accomplished today. Make lists of what needs to be done. By prioritizing and organizing your needs you can minimize redundant trips to the store and last minute scrambling.

Family time is a wonderful thing but it can also be a little overwhelming at times. If you find yourself getting upset or feeling stressed during family interactions it is OK to walk away for a while. Better to say nothing than to say something you may regret.

Take time to connect. On the flip side, if you or someone you know are alone this holiday find some creative way to connect with a friend or family member. A simple phone call can go a long way to helping yourself and that other person feel special.

Know that it’s okay to say no. Dealing with all of the crowds and potential parties can leave one exhausted.  Know that it is OK to say no to some things. Try to choose parties where you will have the most enjoyment. If you are stuck in a crowd waiting in line, strike up a conversation with the stranger next to you. Often this helps both of you feel good and the time passes faster.

If at the end of the day you are just overwhelmed by your feelings please reach out to a close friend, family member, clergy, other support person or your physician. Sharing your concerns and feelings has an amazing impact on your ability to cope and deal with day-to-day issues. If you need a primary care provider, call 800.424.DOCS (3627) to find one today.

On behalf of Wilson Medical Center I wish you the very merriest Christmas Season and a joyous New Year!

Dr. Ron Stahl is the chief medical officer at Wilson Medical Center.