'Tis the Season for Stress


Stress is a funny thing...

We can't live without it and we can't live with it. Too little stress dulls the memory and too much stress leads to serious health problems. Research studies have demonstrated how stress breaks down the immune system, triggers depression and damages nerve cells in the brain. These same studies offer proven strategies to reduce the negative effects of acute and chronic stress.

Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

As we move further into December, we are at the mercy of the stress that accompanies the season. Advent, Christmas and New Year celebrations challenge our equilibrium. To minimize the effects of the stress of the season, consider the following:

  • Eat moderately and regularly, avoiding caffeine and alcohol-don't deprive yourself of the "goodies," but focus on portion control.
  • Get enough sleep. Seven to eight hours a night is the recommended range, but more or less is sufficient if it fits your usual routine.
  • Be realistic. We live in an imperfect world, and choosing our battles, leaving some to fight others will go a long way to reducing stress.
  • Plan ahead. Set aside time for planning, baking, shopping, visiting and other activities to avoid the last minute rush.
  • Make time for yourself. Don't give up the quiet time already in your routine; with all that needs to be done, take time out to refresh and restore your energy supply.
  • Remember to laugh. A sense of humor can make the world of difference between having fun or collapsing under the demands of the season.
  • Learn to say "no." You don't have to attend every party, go to every concert or watch every holiday special on TV.

 by Trish Callahan, senior ministry assistant coordinator


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