In North York our clinic has already begun to feel the holiday cheer and spirit in the air. With holidays and the New Year coming up, it can be a very exciting and joyous time for many. But the holidays can also be extremely stressful; with unrealistic expectations, attending family and social gatherings, gift shopping, food preparation, financial strains, and changing seasons – stress often ensues. The Medical Station offers some helpful tips and advice to help you manage your stress this holiday season.
Effects of Stress
Stress is an adaptive biological process. In certain amounts, stress can be helpful for our day-to-day lives. Chronic or extreme stress however, can be seriously damaging physically, emotionally, and mentally. Some of the clinical health effects of stress include:
- Muscle tension & pain
- GI problems
- Immune suppression
- Memory problems
Holiday Stress Management Tips from The Medical Station
While you may not be able to mitigate holiday stress entirely, The Medical Station has lots of helpful tips to help manage your stress as you head into the holiday season:
- Acknowledge your feelings – though cheer is often synonymous with the holidays, it is okay to be feeling upset or stressed out during the holidays. Be sure to make time for yourself!
- Reach out – if you’re feeling alone or isolated try to connect with friends & family, or find a public social event in your neighbourhood to attend.
- Be realistic – the holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself or others.
- Don't abandon your healthy habits – whether its going for a jog, cooking a healthy meal, or practicing meditation – our clinic reminds you not to let the busyness of the holidays keep you from taking part in the healthy activities you enjoy.
- Relaxation techniques – spend some time relaxing in whichever way is most effective for you, whether it’s writing, reading, yoga, or deep breathing.
- Get rest – sleep often seems to be the first thing to go when we get stressed and busy, but getting enough rest is crucial for coping with stress.
- Get outside – although there are fewer hours of sunlight, try to find some time to be in the sun; it will help stimulate serotonin production which will positively affect your mood.
- Seek professional help – don’t hesitate to contact a medical clinic, a mental health professional, or a helpline.