How to Manage Your Holiday Stress
Dr. Ryan Hennessy, Schneck Primary Care - November 19, 2020
 
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Stress. Even seeing the word can make you feel it: the weight, pressure, and exhaustion we associate with having too much going on in our lives. After a long year, and with the holidays upon us, you are not alone in feeling like your stress levels are higher than usual. Following these three steps can help you manage your stress this holiday season and reach your optimal level of health.

1. Know your stressors

First, know that stress is human nature. Your brain is wired with cortisol (the stress hormone) to help warn you of challenges and demands so that your body knows how to respond. That said, you can’t eliminate stress and never feel it again. What you can do is to understand your stressors–the things that stress you out–and be prepared for them when they come.
 
Take some time to think about what you’re feeling and why. Are you nervous about gathering in groups and taking the right safety precautions? Worried about getting the right gifts for everyone on your list? Uncertain about travel plans? Define your holiday challenges as specifically as possible.

2. Use your skills

Once you know your stressors, you can plan ways to deal with them. Coping skills keep you from going from “stressed” to “stressed out,” making them crucial to maintaining your health. They help you focus on what you can control rather than what you can’t, and take various forms.
 
  • Physical: get moving and use exercise to rid your body of muscle tension
  • Emotional: try journaling or talking with someone who will share the weight of what you’re feeling
  • Mental: bring yourself into the present with guided breathing, music, or creative expression
 
These are only a few examples; anything that energizes you could be a coping skill. Think about which skills best suit you and your stressors, and then take time to actually do them. Even a few minutes spent taking care of yourself will help you keep your stress in check.

3. Ask for help

Remember: stress is natural, and so is our need for help. Getting support from loved ones or medical professionals will ease the weight on your shoulders. If you need help managing your stress this holiday season, Schneck Medical Center is here for you. Our mental health professionals offer expertise in stress, coping skills development, and other services that help you reach your optimal level of health. If you’d like to learn more, get in touch.

Dr. Ryan Hennessy HeadshotDr. Ryan Hennessy is a primary care physician with Schneck Primary Care
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