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Curb Holiday Stress with These Simple Tips

During the holiday season, financial pressures, unrealistic expectations, strained family relationships, and an overload of baking, hosting, and entertaining often leave us feeling trapped in a snow globe of stress and anxiety. It can also be a time when the presence of lost loved ones is deeply felt, and past traumas resurface, triggering depression. South County Physical Therapy, Inc. (SCPT) is sharing some stress busting tips to help keep you calm and happier this holiday season.

Easy does it: During the holiday season, remember to give yourself a break. There is no perfect person, family, or holiday celebration. An article from the American Psychological Association (APA) reminds us that a crooked tree or a scorched dinner won’t ruin the holidays, but rather make light-hearted memories you can look back on later. Don’t be too hard on yourself for having negative feelings towards festivities—it’s completely normal for everyone to feel overwhelmed at times. If hosting a holiday gathering seems like too much this year, talk to your family members about alternative options. Remember to take some time for yourself by doing something you find enjoyable like going for a walk, attending an exercise or yoga class, meditating, or getting a massage.

Stick to a Healthy Routine: Everyday routines can help us maintain a sense of balance and stability. This holds true for adults and children alike. Try to eat a healthy snack or meal before attending holiday parties to avoid a sugar and calorie overload. Maintaining your usual exercise régime can help combat stress and increase endorphins to battle the holiday blues. If you can’t make it to the gym, try an at-home workout, like SCPT’s easy to follow stretches and exercises. If you’re undergoing rehabilitation, don’t let the holidays derail your efforts. Ask your SCPT physical therapist to create a comprehensive plan you can work on outside of practice visits, to maintain your progress.

Limit spending: Entrepreneur Magazine recently shared a Healthline Survey that measured the percentage of holiday stress felt by each generation of Americans. It’s no surprise that financial concerns were at the top of the list, with over 50 percent of Americans feeling short of money this season. The APA suggests starting an open dialogue with children about the expectations for holiday gifts. Talk with your partner, and set a budget you both find manageable. Consider making homemade gifts for family members or starting a Yankee Swap, where you’ll purchase one gift instead of dozens.

If you feel overly stressed, anxious, or sad, don’t wait until the holidays are over to seek help. A licensed mental health professional can support you in establishing and implementing strategies to manage your feelings.

If you’re experiencing setbacks in your physical therapy recovery, talk with your SCPT therapist about ways you can incorporate your rehabilitation schedule into the busy season. Together, we can manage holiday stress and have a little fun along the way, too.