Coping Strategies to Manage Your Stress this Holiday Season

Everyone is gearing up for the holiday season. For many people, stress comes along with what is supposed to be a time of joyful celebration. There are many causes for this stress from difficult family dynamics, financial concerns, managing a full calendar for your family, and trying to meet the unrealistic expectations you’ve set for yourself. Let’s look at coping strategies so that your mental health doesn’t suffer during the Christmas season.

To Manage Your Stress, Practice Mindfulness

If you aren’t aware of the term, mindfulness is the ability of being fully present. This helps you to be better engaged and not overreact or overwhelmed due to your environment. To practice mindfulness, you consider what you are experiencing via your senses and consider your state of mind. Making yourself more aware of your emotions and thoughts with this exercise, prepares you for a more stressful situation.

Mindfulness meditation allows you to think and feel more freely. The intention of these exercises is to help you be more curious of those around you and therefore welcoming and kind.

To Manage Your Stress, Say No

There are so many activities in December. If you feel you are creating too hectic of a schedule to enjoy and be in the moment, know it is okay to say “no”. It is okay to prioritize what brings you joy and also spend some time recharging. Focus on the activities that bring you the most joy, and if there are others that you do out of obligation but cause you stress, maybe reconsider those.

To Manage Your Stress, Spend Time Outside

Fresh air is good for everyone. There are quite a few health benefits to being outside.

  • Vitamin D: yes, you get vitamin D from some of the foods you eat, but the best source of vitamin D is from the sun.
  • Exercise: whether you are walking, riding a bike, running, playing a sport, or climbing, exercise is good for your body and your brain. The endorphins are a great de-stressor.
  • Improve your immune system: exposing yourself to the dirt, allergens, and more outdoors allows your body to build up immune responses so that it is better equipped for a future response.
  • Stress reducer: studies have shown that being in nature lowers your cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone, and decreases your heart rate.
To Manage Your Stress, Give Yourself Grace

The holidays can be an especially hard time when you have lost someone in the last year. Allow yourself space to grief your loved one. Honor their memory with some of the traditions you shared together in previous years, but also create new traditions. Having these happy memories will honor your loved one as they would want you to continue the celebration without them.

Understand your financial situation and act accordingly. If you are stressed because you don’t have the financial resources to buy a grand gift for someone, release that stress. You can celebrate with loved ones and show them how much they care without going into debt. Make a gift for them, choose to do a secret santa exchange, or focus on your time together rather than physical gifts. Christmas, after all, is about so much more than presents. It’s a celebration of God’s love for us and the Savior’s birth.

This Christmas season, our local pharmacies are here to support your family as you make strides to maintain and improve your health. The staff and owners are part of the community and are invested in your success. If you are currently not with a small pharmacy, now is the time for you to check out one of our local pharmacies. College Park Pharmacy, Howard’s Pharmacy, Mooney’s Pharmacy, and P&S Pharmacy are small businesses here in East Tennessee who pride themselves in customer service. They want to gain your trust and build a relationship with you. We strive to put patients first and help you improve your health. Please come by and see us.