|Marygrace Zetkulic, M.D.|
Hackensack University Medical Center
Family. Finances. A tree in your house.
Our holiday to-do list can feel immense when it seems to hit us all at once, and it's commonplace to simply accept our anxieties keeping us awake at night.
As routine as it may seem, however, losing sleep to stress is unhealthy and counterproductive.
Lack of sleep can contribute to numerous health issues, including higher prevalence of chronic pain, high blood pressure, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and premature aging. In addition to restoring the immune system, adequate sleep is central to maintaining energy and focus, which are essential for keeping a cool head when confronting holiday stress.
In this time of giving, make sure to give yourself what you need to keep from feeling overwhelmed and stay well rested into the new year.
Here are some tips from Marygrace Zetkulic, M.D., director of Medical Education in the Department of Medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center, to cope with and avoid holiday stress:
- Discuss plans in advance. If you can’t be with one branch of the family for the holidays, breaking the news early can prevent hurt feelings. If you have a child returning from college, don’t focus entirely on his or her visit. This can help prevent the January letdown.
- Don’t feel you have to perform every holiday activity. Give yourself permission to let some things slide, like that seven-step holiday recipe. Feeling hassled by housework? Ask a friend to help you bake or decorate, then return the favor.
- Don’t budge on your budget. Small, thoughtful gifts can bring great delights and prevent post-holiday financial woes.
- Don’t do all your heavy lifting at the mall. Try to move your body every day. Give yourself the gift of a yoga class or exercise video.
- Have a strategy for handling family get-togethers. For example, plan your polite-but-firm response to that nosy relative with the knack for asking uncomfortable questions.
- Find a volunteer opportunity or reach out to a relative or neighbor who needs assistance.