On Your Health

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Minimize Stress, Maximize Cheer

27 November 2015

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For many, the holiday season can feel anything but cheerful or relaxing. When your calendar is as stuffed as you are on Thanksgiving, and the gift of giving feels more like a financial demand, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Below are some simple steps you can use to alleviate the stress that often accompanies the holiday season.

Connect with distant loved ones

Being separated from family and friends can be difficult around the holidays, but technology can help! Emails, photos, phone calls and FaceTime chats are all great solutions to separation. Take advantage of these alternatives and feel connected to those who may be miles away.

Set aside differences

Although holidays are a time for family and friends to come together and celebrate, sometimes this very thing can cause a lot of stress. Try to accept family members and friends as they are and set aside differences. If emotions begin to run high, try and be understanding as chances are they're feeling the effects of holiday stress, too.

Develop (and stick to) a budget

Giving to others is rewarding, but you don’t have to break your bank while doing it. Develop a budget ahead of time, track your spending, and keep all of your receipts. If you’re up to the challenge, use a DIY gift guide to create your own presents and save some green.

Pass on a party

While it’s nice to feel involved, don’t feel obligated to attend every single holiday party. The holidays are exhausting, so make sure you get some rest! Friends, family and coworkers will understand if you need a quiet night to yourself.

Indulge in moderation

Holiday foods can often cause anxiousness and guilt – but they don’t have to. Snack on nuts and fruit before savory dinners to avoid overeating, and keep your workout routine in check. When dessert comes, ask if anyone would like to share a piece of pie, rather than having a whole slice to yourself. To avoid excessive drinking, alternate each alcoholic beverage with a glass of water. Not only will this help to reduce your amount of alcoholic drinks, but it will also keep your body hydrated.

Acknowledge your emotions

Allow yourself to feel stressed, anxious, sad, or overwhelmed. Talk to trusted friends or family members about how you are feeling. It’s okay to open up about this. It’s also important to acknowledge that despite your best efforts to work through your emotions, some feelings may persist or begin to interfere with your job or home life. If you notice this happening, take an online mental health screening or talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. This holiday season, INTEGRIS has partnered with to offer free, anonymous emotional wellness and mental health screenings that you can take from your computer, tablet or smartphone. Just visit our website at  After completing a screening, you will receive referral information that offers further evaluation and treatment if needed. This year, don't let stress take its toll on your health and well-being during the holidays. Follow these simple steps and enjoy yourself! For more tips on ways to combat the holiday blues, check out this video from Sara Barry, licensed behavioral practitioner at INTEGRIS.