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Don't Let Christmas Stress You Out!

Dec 21, 2022

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” but also can be a time when stress levels soar.

With Christmas around the corner people might be adding to an already stressed state of mind.

While Christmas is known as “the season to be jolly,” it can be a significant source of stress, pressure, and conflict for many of us. 

Some people can feel overwhelmed by the excess, expectations, and exchange and become depressed during the holidays.

Most of us are aware of the adverse effects that stress can have on our body. It can impact our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, and it can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity if left unchecked.

In fact, research has shown that there is an increase in the occurrence of heart attacks and heart-related deaths during the festive season, which may be due to stress, heavy alcohol consumption, a fatty diet, or all three. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that holiday stress is dealt with — pronto.

So this week we are going to look at some simple tips to get through the festive season. 

1.Know When to Stop

Decide when you will stop your Christmas preparations and start to relax and enjoy the holiday. Work towards and try to stick to this goal, even if it is in the late afternoon on Christmas Eve. Remember that Christmas is your holiday too.

2. Practise Breathing

When we’re stressed our heart beat increases and our breathing shallows, it’s all part of the fight or flight reaction.  Work on reversing this process and take time to breathe deeply. 

Breathe in deeply through your nose, hold for 15 or 20 seconds and then breathe slowly out through your mouth, repeat for a few minutes to instantly help reduce stressful feelings.


3.Avoid  Overindulging

‘Tis the season for indulgence, and whether it be a festive holiday party or a family dinner, we are surrounded by extravagant foods and alcoholic drinks

Excessive stress raises appetite and cravings for sugary and fatty foods, and chronic drinking can further exacerbate stress by raising levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

It is recommend that families should aim to maintain healthful dietary habits during the holidays in order to avoid weight gain and stress

  • Eat a healthful diet during the day. Eat some high-protein snacks, such as yogurt or an apple with peanut butter, so that you are not too hungry by the time that dinner arrives.
  • Make simple food swaps. Eat whole-wheat bread instead of white, and brown rice instead of white, to help keep you feeling fuller for longer.
  • Be treat-wise. Enjoy seasonal treats, but try to control portion sizes.

If you do find yourself overindulging, maintain perspective. One day of indulgence will not lead to significant weight gain, as long as you plan to get back on track with healthy food choices and exercise the next day.

3.Go For A Walk

The antidote for holiday stress could be just as simple as taking a walk around the block.

Research demonstrates that physical activity reorganises the brain in such a way that it reduces its response to stress.

 Regular exercise can help to decrease tension and boost and stabilize mood. Furthermore, exercising produces endorphins — natural painkilling chemicals that are released in the brain — that improve your ability to sleep and reduce stress.

Research also shows that if you convince the rest of the family to leave the couch and come along on the walk with you, your stress levels will be reduced even further.

4.Have Fun!

Remember it’s your Christmas too so try to relax and have fun, laugh and be merry.   If things don’t go to plan try not to worry too much, instead laugh about them and make them into fun memories that you can talk about during Christmases to come. "Remember that time Mum set fire to the sprouts!".

Laughter goes a long way in the fight against stress and could be just what the doctor ordered.

Laughter lightens your mood, stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles, and also releases endorphins. Laughter also boosts circulation, helps muscles relax, and lessens the physical symptoms that are associated with stress.

Whether your laughter is powered by sidesplitting moments in your favourite movie, jokes at the dinner table, a holiday prank, or an afternoon of fun activities, be sure to include some holiday humour and giggles.

Remember Your Health Is Your Wealth , Whether It's Physical Or Mental.

If you are  worried about your mental health there is lots of support out there to help such as www.mentalhealthireland.ie   

Have A Magical Christmas And A  Fantastic New Year!!

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