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It’s that time of year again. With winter comes nice weather (at least in Arizona), holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the dreaded stress that is associated with holiday preparation.
But have no fear, there are many experts that have tips to help you avoid and cope with stress and anxiety around the holidays. Just make sure to put in an effort this year and not let your emotions overwhelm you, by following their advice.
Stephanie Mansour, the CEO of Step It Up With Steph and a health and fitness expert, suggests getting some exercise during difficult holiday times.
“After a family meal, make it a requirement that after you help clean up, you go outside for a brisk walk,” Mansour said in an email. “Tell your family (who you may be annoyed with) that it's part of your new healthy lifestyle program and it's good for digestion (it is).”
She also suggests making time for yourself even in the middle of the holiday hustle and bustle. If needed, you can even set up a time slot on your calendar for exercising, stretching or meditation. It’s important to keep yourself healthy both physically and mentally throughout the holiday season.
“Learn to say ‘no’ without feeling guilty,” Mansour added. “Know your limits and don't take on other peoples' emotions. It's OK to turn down a couple of events - take control of your own schedule.”
Leslie Davenport, an author and psychotherapist specializing in stress management, suggested in an email that it’s important to figure out what’s best for you during the holiday season and encourage others to do the same. This includes creating new traditions and also making sure you stick to your values.
“Invite those close to you to have a holiday ‘makeover,’ finding ways to celebrate that are expressive of current interests and budgets,” Davenport said. “Depression and anxiety triggered by the holidays are often [expectations] imposed by what others think you should be doing, which can get reinforced by the media. Suggest gifts and activities that support, rather than oppose, the life you are creating.”