Archive for Thursday, December 10, 2009

Stressed out at holidays? These tips help you cope

December 10, 2009

The holiday season has arrived. For many people the holidays are all about fun, family, friends and food. Yet for others it can be a time of stress, loneliness and frustration. With a few tips, you might be able to beat the stress and enjoy yourself more than you thought possible. Lisa Lillard, director of the Senior Behavioral Health Center at St. John Hospital in Leavenworth, offers the following tips to help you cope with holiday stress.

Coping with holiday blues

• Don’t say “yes” to everything: Holiday activities at school, work and office can be overwhelming. Sit down and have a discussion with your family and prioritize those invitations.

• Finance: Don’t break a sweat buying expensive gifts for everyone. Times are tough, so think of moderate-priced gifts or do something creative such as a jar of homemade cookies or handmade jewelry. Best of all, it will add less strain on your budget.

• Stick to your routine: Breaking your usual routine has been found to have major effects on mood swings. Stick to your daily sleep, food and wake-up schedule.

• Admit when you are not feeling your best: Very often people find themselves going through a different inner experience than what is hyped by the media. It is important to be aware not to feel guilty if you are not feeling happy. Talk to a friend or family member about your frustrations and joy.

• Delegate: Don’t try to do it all by yourself. Delegate work to family members; let them know of your standards to get the job done to your expectations. Breaking down and redistributing work makes life easier.

• Don’t go overboard: Overindulgence in food and alcohol can only lead to guilt and added stress. Remember this time of the year will pass, too, and before you know it you will be back in your old routine struggling to lose those extra pounds. Hold onto a healthy eating habit and incorporate some kind of physical activity in your routine. Something as simple as walking your dog for 30 minutes can do wonders.

• Volunteer: The holidays tend to amplify loneliness. Volunteering your excess time by helping others can make you feel needed. Providence and Saint John offer several volunteer positions for people interested in serving. To learn more call Dora Williams at (913) 596-4195.

Holidays don’t have to be hectic and stressful. Go easy on yourself, and take time to enjoy your loved ones. If despite all your efforts to remain upbeat you can’t seem to shake off those holiday blues, seek professional help. Visit your primary doctor or call the Providence Saint John physician referral service at (913) 281-7777 or (800) 281-7777.

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