Just Say “No” To Holiday Stress

Yes, we know, easier said than done. But, actually just saying “No” is a great way to stop stress in its tracks before it starts.  Identifying and recognizing stressors go a long way to taking control of stress before it takes control of YOU.

External Stressors- comes from outside of a person. Stress that happens TO YOU. Below, are some examples:

  • Unpredictable Life Events – unexpectedly, Aunt Edna and Cousin Eddy (homage to the Griswolds) show up for the holidays, along with their dogs, cats and menagerie of ferrets.
  • Workplace – think Office Christmas Party, stressing over what to wear and how to dodge Mr. Happy Hands.
  • Social – you are introverted but have to fake being an extrovert; you MUST make the proverbial appearance at countless, endless holiday parties.
  • Noise – Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer on a loop resulting in the pulling of hair (not advised)
  • Interpersonal Conflict/Relationship stress – can be exacerbated by the holidays; i.e., overspending the family budget, kids pushing your buttons, guests showing up with scary dates, etc.

Internal Stressors – stress that comes from inside of person. Below are some examples:

  • Fears – fear of failure, fear of crowded places i.e., malls with screaming kids and Santas hired from the D list.
  • Unrealistic expectations – the pressure to create the PERFECT holiday experience for your friends and family.
  • Memory – the holidays can bring up latent memories of Christmas past both pleasant and unpleasant. It is one of the most emotionally charged holidays of the year.
  • Nutrition and Hydration – lack of nutrition and dehydration (think over cocktailing at all the parties) can trigger stress. Water is your friend!
  • Sleep Deprivation – exhaustion makes people react to situations that they would normally just ride out; like lashing out at a spouse or ranting at a co-worker.

The best way to manage stress is to learn coping strategies so that you can enjoy your life. After identifying and recognizing the stressors, incorporating natural coping techniques can improve your overall quality of life.  Effective coping strategies include:

  1. Just Say “No” – you don’t have to agree to Aunt Edna and Cousin Eddie and their bevy of animals staying at your house.  If they want to come visit you that badly for the holidays, they can find somewhere else to stay.
  1. Take a Walk – simply removing yourself from a stressful situation, say the Holiday Office Party with Mr. Happy Hands or Rudolph on the musical loop, can help you regroup, reframe and readjust your mindset. Couple a walk with deep breaths and you will be way ahead of managing your stress. And, this time of year in Arizona, is gorgeous. Get outside. Feel better.
  1. Hug a Dog/Pet a Cat (or do both!) – according to Animalsmart.org, playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol.
  1. Get a Massage – with the advent of Groupon®, massages are more affordable than ever. And, with holiday specials aplenty, massages can purchased in packages. Hundreds of studies show, that massage reduces stress and muscle tension. A massage can also result in a feeling of connectivity; if you are stressed, get a massage and feel connected to the human race. You are not alone.
  1. Time Out! – it works for children, so why do you think it won’t work for you? You just got off the freeway and yet again people do not know how to merge.  Your husband didn’t pick up your child from daycare because it was YOUR turn. Argh! Time for a time out (after you pick up little Johnny). Take 15 minutes, go to a dark, quiet room, practice deep breathing and regroup. It REALLY does work.
  1. Get Some Rest – no one, no one, no one benefits from you walking around like a zombie. You won’t feel good, won’t look good and will be less productive; no one wins. In a 2010 study of women ages 50 to 79, more deaths occurred in women who got less than five hours of sleep per night. By getting quality rest you entire quality of life will improve. Hot flashes, night sweats interrupting sleep, see Team DeRosa. They can HELP!

Don’t let stress, whether internal or external, rob you of the JOY of holiday season. From all of us a DeRosa Medical, we wish you a stressLESS, joyFULL holiday season.

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