How to deal with stress over the holidays

Whenever you feel the stress creeping up, take a deep breath and put things into perspective.

As we get closer to the holidays, the stress tends to increase. Shopping; all the stuff that has to get done before the vacation time off; school pressure and exams; the preparations for visiting family and friends… All this and more can ramp up the stress you feel to incredible levels.

You know it’s going to happen, but what can you do about it?

One

First, take a break. No matter how pressured you feel to get things done, stopping for a few moments to do something completely different will actually make the time you pour into what you’re doing much more focused and efficient.

Two

Kindness makes it easier to cope. Volunteer. Spend time with your friends. Get someone to help you with all the stuff that needs to be done. Shop with a friend.

Three

Whenever you feel the stress creeping up and it’s inappropriate to take a break right then and there, take a deep breath and put things into perspective. Everything will get done; you know it will.

Four

Lastly, do something that makes you laugh. Whether it’s listening to a comedy bit while you’re shopping, or watching the Marx Brothers at home, laughter is probably one of the best ways to diffuse stress.

By the way, relaxation techniques, yoga, mindfulness, all can play an important role and of course you need to make certain you get enough rest, eat wisely and exercise. All that is even more important now.

Dr. Mitch Shulman is an Assistant Professor, Dept. of Surgery, McGill Medical School and an Attending Physician, Emergency Department, McGill University Health Centre. He’s also the CJAD AM 800 Medical Consultant.

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