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How to cope with stress during the holidays

GEHA | December 9, 2019

Health and wellness
The holidays can be stressful. With these practical tips, you can minimize the stress and enjoy the holidays more.

The holidays can be stressful with the additional demands of parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining. But with these practical tips, you can minimize the stress and enjoy the holidays more.

  1. Take time for yourself. Just 15 minutes alone may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Take a walk at night and stargaze or soak in some sunlight during the day. Listen to soothing music. Read a book. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga.
  2. Stick to healthy habits. Get plenty of sleep and regular physical activity and continue to eat healthy. A healthy snack before holiday parties will help keep you from overeating. Don’t rely on drugs, alcohol and smoking to reduce stress.
  3. Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, cleaning, visiting friends and other activities.
  4. Stick to a budget. Decide how much money you can afford to spend before you go gift and food shopping.
  5. Say no. Don’t over commit your schedule so you don’t feel resentful and overwhelmed.
  6. Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or like last year. As families change and grow, traditions often change as well. Also accept that there are events you cannot control.
  7. Set aside differences. Accept family members and friends as they are and set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion.
  8. Reach out. Volunteering to help others will lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
  9. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, it’s okay to feel sadness or grief.
  10. Seek professional help. Talk to your doctor or mental health professional if you feel persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores.

Telemedicine is a way to get quick virtual access to board certified doctors and therapists. All GEHA medical members are eligible for telemedicine powered by MDLIVE.

MDLIVE is designed to handle non-emergency medical conditions and behavioral health issues and can often be an alternative for a doctor’s visit, urgent care center or emergency room visit. Telemedicine is not intended to replace your primary care doctor or to be used in life-threatening emergencies. E-prescriptions can be sent to your local pharmacy, if required.

Learn more about MDLIVE including the covered conditions.

“Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping.”, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), 16 September 2017.
“Managing Your Mental Health During The Holidays.”, National Alliance on Mental Health, 19 December 2017.
“Stress Management Tips.”, WebMD LLC, 21 February 2018.