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What's a good holiday stress-buster?

Proven stress busters: Get plenty of sleep. Schedule time for exercise each day. Make healthy food choices. Build a good social support network of friends, family and coworkers. Create peaceful times in your day. Don't smoke. Don't drink too much or abuse other substances.
Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics
Tips to relieve stress during the holidays:
  • Stay organized.
  • Plan meals, snacks, decorations, gifts, etc.
  • Get help -- take short cuts when able.
  • Enjoy regular meals and snacks to keep your energy level.
  • Ensure adequate sleep/rest.
  • Recognize that the emphasis and focus should be on spending quality time with family/friends.
  • Things may not go as planned but be kind to yourself and others, breathe, count your blessings, be productive yet calm, and enjoy this special time.
The holidays can be a time of joy and celebration, but they are also a potential source of stress. You may feel there is too much to do in too little time. The holidays can also be a period of loneliness for some people.

Stress isn’t just an annoyance, however. It is important over the holidays that you take the time to read the signals your body is sending you. Stress is a serious concern, and it appears to be a risk factor for heart disease.

Researchers don’t know exactly how stress contributes to heart disease -- this is partly because it’s hard to measure stress and because people react differently to it. But it is also because it is not easy to determine whether stress is a risk factor itself for heart disease, or if it negatively affects other risk factors for heart disease, such as blood pressure, cholesterol or lifestyle behaviors.

Try these stress busters over the holidays. Techniques such as this may help you lower your long-term risk of heart disease.
  • Diet. It can be all too easy to cope with holiday stress by indulging in readily available high-fat and/or high-sugar foods. If you stick with a heart-healthy diet, you will be better able to manage stress.
  • Exercise. You may feel too busy to exercise during the holidays, but sticking with regular exercise is an effective holiday stress buster.
  • Muscular relaxation. Try stretching, yoga or Pilates.
  • A quiet environment. Taking time alone during the holidays can be important. Go for a walk, or listen to soft, soothing music.
  • A passive attitude. Try to let go and cultivate an easygoing and positive -- not quick to anger -- attitude.
  • Deep breathing. Some people pair deep breathing with the repetition of a word or phrase.
  • Skills training. A qualified professional such as a therapist can help you learn to identify and reduce your stressors.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.