Integrative Care Center Offers Tips for Lowering Holiday Stress

How to Keep Stress from Becoming a Holiday Tradition


Integrative Care Center of Hospital for Special Surgery

During the holiday season, demands and responsibilities of parties, decorations, and presents have the potential to overshadow the fun, leaving you feeling completely stressed-out.  Such tension can contribute to and exacerbate pain, anxiety and other medical problems.  “If you are not careful, the holidays take an emotional toll on the body, ranging from increased blood pressure to weakening your immune system,” says Gina Kearney, Holistic Nurse Practitioner and Site Manager at the Integrative Care Center (ICC) affiliated with Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

Experts at the ICC have seen the impact of holiday stress and offer the following 7 tips:

  1. Set realistic goals.
    Planning ahead, shopping, making travel plans early, and pacing yourself will certainly decrease the last minute anxiety associated with long lines and delays.
  2. Don’t do it alone.
    Plan activities with your family that will help turn chores into family activities.
  3. Scale down your expectations.
    Perfection and holiday planning are a bad mix.
  4. Manage your time.
    Think about how much time you have, and plan accordingly. Build in time for last-minute changes or crises.
  5. Try to relax.
    Deep breathing exercises, relaxation tapes, and gentle yoga are often helpful.
  6. Find time to exercise.
    If you are already in a regular exercise program (aerobics, running, swimming, etc.), it is important to keep up the usual routine during the holidays.
  7. Pay attention to your own feelings.
    Share real feelings with a good friend.  Even a quick email or phone call can help.  They’re probably feeling overloaded too.

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