Tips to overcome holiday stress

December 18, 2013 Denise Pinkney

Shopping, baking, cleaning, writing holiday cards and spending time with relatives you avoid the other 11 months of the year. Yikes! With the holidays approaching, it's easy to get caught up in stress. Let's start now by taking one nice deep breath. Help is on the way!

Remember the "perfect Christmas" may only exist on the Hallmark Channel, so it's OK to have a meal that is not worthy of Martha Stewart or gifts that are not exquisitely wrapped.

"The motives and meanings of the holiday season can bring out stress in everyone and yet there is never a more important time to adjust what at times may be unhealthy expectations of ourselves and others," said Dr. Kenneth Fischer, a psychiatrist and medical director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota. "We then become at risk of letting the perfect become the enemy of the good. Preparation for Christmas, like good parenting, is about being ‘good enough' and not perfect."

Experts recommend these tips to help you deal with holiday stress.

  • Take time for yourself. Don't abandon your exercise routine. If you're too busy to go to the gym, then walk during your breaks at work. Do something you enjoy whether it's taking a long bath or listening to music.
  • Eat healthfully. Don't overdo the office and party treats. Instead, eat fruits, vegetables and high fiber foods.
  • Mind your budget. It's tempting to overspend as you're racing to finish your Christmas shopping, but that will only cause you more stress in January when your credit card bill is due.
  • Make a gratitude list. With all the commercialization of the season, it's good to focus on what you're grateful for. Make a list. Tell your loved ones you are thankful to have them in your life.

Sometimes holiday stress can actually be holiday seasonal sadness. These tips may help you fight holiday depression