Ways to Manage Holiday Stress – CBS Baltimore

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, according to the hit song by Andy Williams. The holiday season is filled with love, compassion, joy, and time with family and friends. But for some people, the holidays evoke feelings of stress, and it can be a long time away.

“During the holiday season, a lot of people feel stressed by busyness, expectations and sometimes disconnection that keep you from being in the best of moods like the people around you,” says Drew A. Pate, MD, chief of psychiatry at LifeBridge Health.

People can feel stressed by the many events and commitments they have scheduled and the compulsion to see people they rarely see during the year. The COVID-19 pandemic has added to the list of stressors, Dr. Pate notes, with worries about travel, family gatherings and exposure.

“We all feel overwhelmed at times; it’s a normal human experience,” Dr. Pate. “It’s when things happen or we have a lot of things to do at once, that’s especially stressful. If you’re feeling cranky, that’s a sign that you may be letting stress get to you. This can affect your sleep, affect activity patterns, and increase your use of alcohol and drugs to try to relieve stress through external means. It is a sign that you need to heed and pay attention to.”

Instead of giving in to those feelings and isolating from others this time of year, take the initiative to reach out and focus on taking care of yourself. Dr. Pate offer some suggestions:

  • Always active
  • Prioritize sleep
  • Avoid overeating and over-drinking throughout the season
  • Join others
  • Avoid withdrawal or social isolation
  • Take limited rest if you feel overwhelmed
  • Find a balance – limit trips to the store if it aggravates the emotions
  • Monitor your emotions
  • Stay connected through remote tools to see who doesn’t travel
  • Set small goals and complete small tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed
  • Find activities that make you happy

Dr. Pate will host a virtual session on Holiday Stress Management on Wednesday, December 15 from 12:00 – 1:00pm Click here to sign up for this free virtual wellness event. Ways to Manage Holiday Stress – CBS Baltimore


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