HOUSTON – With all the shopping, gatherings, and travel, the holiday season can be stressful.
Here is what you can do to combat it and enjoy the holidays (relatively) stress-free.
WHEN DOES STRESS PEAK?
The stress extends through December with bursts of stress popping up around Dec. 13, but researchers say people feel the heaviest stress right when they are sitting down for dinner on Christmas day.
“We just get overwhelmed in the moment of small specific details and we lose sight of the big picture,” says Dr. Mariam Wahby, education specialist at Memorial Hermann Hospital.
Wahby said the physical symptoms are real.
Stress can cause headaches, upset stomach, cravings for sweet high-fat foods, but she’s got some tips to keep you stress-free.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Wahby said the best thing you can do is plan, plan, plan.
Make a schedule of your shopping days and events so you know what needs to be done and when.
"So you're kind of mapping it out,” Wahby said. “(That way) you're not hit with all of it mid-December.”
If shopping is your huge stress factor, Wahby said to start as early in the season as possible and set a budget you can stick to.
Wahby said if long lines are what drive you crazy, bring a book with you and take deep breaths whenever you can.
If holiday gatherings and parties stress you out, limit the number of events you go to, keep family conversations cordial and avoid religion or politics.
Wahby also said that when it comes to alcohol, less is more.
"Be really mindful of how much you're drinking don't get caught up in the moment and overdo it,” said Wahby.
If the stress gets to be too much, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Wahby said we go to the gym for help, we go to a physician, so we can go get help for our stress and anxiety too.
Mental health is just as important as our physical health.