Handling Holiday Stress

December 3, 2018

The holiday season is here, with extra shopping, family time and last minute projects. To reduce stress during this busy time, try to maintain a normal routine. When you can’t do that, try these tips for coping with the chaos.

Be active.

When stress has depleted your energy, it’s hard to concentrate. Exercise helps reduce fatigue and improves alertness. Take your mind off your problems with activities like:

  • Helping a neighbor with a work project
  • Volunteering in the community
  • Taking the dog on a long walk

Get outdoors.

Most people work inside an office building. When things get stressful at work, take a break and get some fresh air. Even five minutes on a balcony or terrace can be rejuvenating. Seek out ways to laugh. Laughter is a great stress buster and has many other health benefits. Find some humor by:

  • Watching a funny YouTube clip during a break at work for a quick pick-me-up
  • Taking a break from the holiday rush and watching a funny sitcom or movie at home
  • Sharing a laugh with family, friends or coworkers

Reduce outside distractions.

Try not to get caught up in the latest trends or bad news stories. And think about taking a break from social media. Practice relaxation techniques. Try a breathing exercise called “belly breathing.”

  • Take slow, deep breaths that fill the abdomen, not the chest.
  • Take three deep breaths and release them slowly.

Stick to a healthy diet.

When you’re busy, you may forget to eat and drink. This can make you feel irritable and heighten your stress levels. Drink plenty of water, eat small, nutritious snacks and maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet. Check your posture. Hold your head and shoulders upright and avoid stooping or slumping, especially if you work at a desk all day. Bad posture can lead to muscle tension and increased stress. Be social. Don’t isolate yourself. Make sure to spend time with loved ones. For example:

  • Hang out with a friend after work.
  • Call an old friend to say hi and make their holiday even better.
  • Watch a holiday movie, sporting event or community production with your family.

Take a hot bath.

It will give your body a kick, as well as your mind – and then it’ll slow both down. Add bubbles and a few candles for a soothing atmosphere. Play a game. Take time out to play a favorite family board game. It will put a smile on your face and make a good memory!

For help with handling stress, improving your diet or other well-being goals, call 501.228.7111 or 800.235.7111 and ask to speak to a QCARE Health Coach.*

*Programs vary by group and benefit plan. Check with your health plan administrator to see if QCARE benefits are included with your plan.