7 Triggers of Holiday Stress and Simple Tips to Help

The holiday season is fast approaching and you need to be aware of some of the biggest stress triggers. The top seven triggers include: keeping things organized, finances, gifts, travel, family, depression, and weight gain. Here are tips that can help you achieve a stress-less holiday season.

1. Keeping things organized. The brain can get overwhelmed with too much to do and too much information. Begin your de-stressed holiday season with making lists and write everything down.

2. Finances. Finances are the number one concern. Three out of four Americans overspend during this time of the year. So consider creating a budget and sticking to it. There will be less unexpected expenses during the holidays.

3. Gifts. Don’t stress yourself over shopping for the right gift. Instead, create a unique gift list to get organized early. Instead of fighting mall traffic or last minute gifts, shop online all year-round to watch for clearances and sales. Consider buying gift certificates, spa vouchers, or giving money to the recipient’s favorite charity in their name.

4. Travel. Unpredictable weather, overcrowded airports, and unreliable transportation can all lead to stress and exhaustion. Memorize stress reduction techniques, and teach them to others.

  • Nurture your self. Be sure to nurture yourself. Take along a favorite blanket, music, or DVD for comfort.
  • Food. Most airports have a variety of places to buy food. Make wise food choices to lower stress levels that include omega-3’s, vitamin B, and spicy foods. Eating high fat, greasy foods can make you anxious and feel stressed out.
  • Keep moving. Walk up and down the concourse, or do yoga stretches. This produces endorphins, calming hormones in the brain.
  • Check in.  If possible, check in before you get to the airport through the airline website.
  • Children.  If traveling with children, make a list of items they want to take with them, and place them in a backpack. Always pack an extra change of clothes for your children.
  • Surrender. Reacting to every obstacle will raise your blood pressure and your heart rate. Surrender to your holiday travel as a classroom, and learn.

5. Family. For many of us, the holidays are the only time of the year to spend time with family members. Make sure to make the most of this quality time.

  • Family list. Prior to the holidays, create a family email list or newsletter. This is an easy way to keep up with busy calendars.
  • Bring along. Make sure your family knows what to bring during an extended stay. For example, notes on food allergies.
  • Memories. Place disposable cameras around the house. This takes the pressure off one person to capture all the memories.
  • Shopping. Plan shopping trips around your child’s “up” time, and carry plenty of snacks.
  • Traditions. Enjoy the old, open up the new: Keep old family traditions, but make a special attempt to start creative new traditions with family and friends.

6. Depression. The holiday season can contribute to feelings of being overwhelmed, and can possibly lead to depression.

  • “Helpers high”. Volunteering is an instant pick me up. Meeting like minded people while helping those in need improves your health.
  • Reach out. Contact an out-of-touch relative, friend or old neighbor.
  • Something new. Try something new during this time. A new type of food, decorate in new colors.

7. Weight gain. This is a time to make memories and to gather with friends and family. Food is a gift to be enjoyed and shared.

  • Parties. Set an amount of parties to attend. The day of the party, eat two light meals, so the major part of your daily intake will be at the celebration.
  • Portion management. Eat what you love, keep the proportion down. Keep a heavy amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet, but never skip out on food that makes you happy.
  • Get full. Try to limit alcohol and carbohydrate consumption, which can increase your stress response. Drink sparkling water with a lime to fill your stomach and create a sense of fullness.

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