Stress has a huge impact on the body, both mentally and physically.
According to the American Psychological Association stress can make it harder to breathe, increase a heart rate and lead to hypertension, heart burn, stomach pain and more. Stress also adds tension to your body and affects your emotional reactions.
Curtis Waechtler, Ph.D.
Stress can increase around the holidays. Curtis Waechtler, PhD, a neuropsychologist at Bacharach explains, “I think the holidays create heightened emotions and expectations, and they are more challenging than a normal situation. Holidays mean something to people because they represent being together as a family, and people want to meet those expectations.”
The holidays bring up a number of different feelings and stressors and the spirit of the holiday can get lost. People are worried about the expectations of entertaining and getting the right gifts. This season can also bring up thoughts about lost loved ones.
Here are some tips from Curtis on how to reduce stress this holiday season:
- Take time to reflect on how you see and approach the holidays. Try to approach the holidays with the perspective that they are all about the spirit of giving and also about having quality time with family and friends.
- Be honest with yourself and other people about the pressures you are experiencing, the emotions you are feeling and the reactions you are having.
- If you find yourself experiencing sadness during the holidays, have compassion for yourself and let others support you.
- Take time to relax and participate in activities that are nurturing, such as a walk around the block, listening to music and talking with friends.
- Make sure you take care of yourself. Your health is very important so don’t let it get forgotten in the hustle and bustle of the holidays.