The Healthy Truth: Combating holiday stress

healthy-truth-holiday-stressDear Friends,

How was your Black Friday? Did you have to squeeze your way into line-ups, drive around parking lots for hours to find a spot, or maybe even yell at a person or two? As you can tell, the holidays have begun with the Thanksgiving and Black Friday kick-off.


If you managed to finish all your holiday shopping – good job! You’re ahead of the game and can relax a bit. If you still have a list longer than Santa’s, then you’re in for a few stressful weeks.

Although the holidays are meant to be a time for friends and family, a time for play and celebration, one thing is for certain – they bring plenty of stress!

There are three main triggers of holiday stress: relationships, finances, and physical demands. Relationships can be stressful any time of the year, but the holidays just add extra stress and tension. From getting together with family members to spousal arguments, a clash of personalities is bound to occur one way or the other. What’s important to keep in mind here is, without those around you, the holidays would be a very lonely time. Dealing with your relationships can improve the holidays and help them pass without a hitch.

Finances are also a major source of stress around the holiday time. Purchasing the perfect gift, all the while ensuring you can still balance your own daily finances, can be very stressful. It’s important to set your own limit and stick with it, and only spend what you can without fearing that you will let someone down. Remember, the holidays are about being together, not about the latest gadget.

Lastly, there are many physical demands around the holidays. Putting up decorations, walking around malls, standing in line-ups, and shuffling around the kitchen all add up. It’s important to ensure you are getting adequate sleep and taking some time to relax. If you burn out, it can only lead to more problems.

Stress, acute or chronic, can take a negative toll on the body. It can raise your blood pressure, cause physical pain including headache, reduce libido, lead to digestive issues, promote overeating, and much more. Basically, stress is bad, so finding effective ways to navigate the holidays can do wonders for your health and your sanity.

Tips to combat holiday stress

If you want to make the holidays run as smoothly as possible while still maintaining your mental and physical well-being, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Acknowledge your feelings – trying to ignore how you feel will only increase depression and anxiety.
  • Mend relationships or learn to deal with them – even if you’re not fond of your uncle, you will most likely have to see him, so it’s important to put those negative feelings aside and learn how to cope.
  • Create a budget – setting limits on gifts and holiday spending can leave you at ease, rather than in deep debt, after all is said and done.
  • Seek help if necessary.
  • Schedule down-time – it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle, but scheduling time for yourself can allow you to recharge.
  • Don’t abandon healthy habits – the holidays aren’t an excuse to throw healthy habits out the window. Ensure you continue to eat well, exercise, drink in moderation, and have a good night’s sleep.
  • Make realistic expectations – we all want holiday grandeur, but sometimes we simply don’t have the means to do so. Instead of being hard on yourself, accept that things aren’t perfect and that everyone is still having a good time.
  • Spend time alone – although relationships are important, alone time is equally important, so take time out of your busy schedule to reconnect with yourself.
  • Forgive – with a New Year approaching, it’s a good idea to forgive those who have done you wrong, and even forgive yourself. Give the New Year a truly fresh start.


By following these stress-reducing tips, you can have a more enjoyable holiday season without the added health consequences. My personal recommendation to beat holiday stress is simply shop online!

Happy shopping and until next week,

Emily Lunardo

Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.


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