The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration with our loved ones, it can be a stressful time too. Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, shares how you can unwind as this holiday season comes to a close. Melendez is the director of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital.
Why is the holiday season stressful?
Nurse Rose: Between shopping for gifts and hosting holiday parties, there’s a lot on our minds. Holiday stress is often caused by:
- Memories of lost loved ones
- Overabundance of activities like family parties or work gatherings
Why do some people experience stress or anxiety during the holidays and not others?
Nurse Rose: Everyone handles a busy schedule or additional responsibilities differently. You may notice that women experience more holiday stress than others. This is because many holiday responsibilities like cooking, event planning and shopping are assumed by women in the household. According to the American Psychological Association, women’s holiday stress levels increase more substantially than men’s levels.
How can people manage their stress levels during the holiday?
Nurse Rose: Here are some tips to manage stress this holiday season.
- Pace yourself. Spread our your activities and obligations so you can enjoy them more.
- Do something kind for others. Volunteer at your local community center or donate to a gift drive. Studies have shown that people who give back feel a sense of joy and satisfaction.
- Find free activities. Check out your local newspaper or community Facebook groups and websites for free holiday events, or stroll through the town to see decorations.
- Save time for yourself. Incorporate solo time for exercise, meditation, reading and whatever other routines help you to decompress.
What should you do if anxiety is still a problem after the holidays?
Nurse Rose: If ignored, stress can lead to health problems like high blood pressure, insomnia and a poor immune system. Always feel empowered to seek support in family, friends, clergy, a primary care doctor or therapist.
Are you struggling with anxiety or stress? Get help at Adventist HealthCare Behavioral Health & Wellness Services.
Additional Health Tips from Rose
Find more family health tips online or tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to hear Rose live.