The Unwanted Holiday Gift: Stress!

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - If you aren't feeling peace and joy this holiday season, you're not alone!  For those of you facing a dizzying list of demands, stress often comes along as an unwelcomed guest. But there are simple ways to manage it and we'll tell you how in this Healthcast.

Heavy traffic, long shopping lines, extra spending and many other holiday headaches can serve up a big helping of stress before you even sit down for Christmas dinner.  "When you're stressed, you don't sleep as well," says Family and Marriage Therapist with Solutions EAP, Keri Forbess-McCorquodale, "generally your eating habits change - and we all know that when we're not feeling our best physically, when we're not feeling our best rested-wise, that that's going to increase the stress."

Forbess-McCorquodale says this time of year, many families have a common concern: enjoying all the holidays have to offer without being stretched too thin - whether it's emotional or financial.  "I think it's very difficult this time of year for people to meet their economic needs and not get in over their heads," she says, "so that they spend several months of 2009 trying to catch up from what they did to themselves in 2008."

On top of money stressors, family members can be thrust together for several days, creating a tense situation that's heightened during the holidays.  "If it's been an unhealthy relationship in the past or if you guys are not on the same page about certain choices in your life or choices in their life," says Forbess-McCorquodale, "tension can be increased."

With the days winding down until the new year begins, now is the time to sit down and spend a few minutes getting organized.  "Make a list of everything that you have to do," she suggests, "gifts that you need to buy, parties that you need to attend, family things that you want to do."

Then it's time to do some cutting. Eliminate parts of the list that you simply don't have time for and stick to those items that really make the holiday season a time to enjoy.  And be realistic: stress is inevitable in some situations, but by planning ahead, this can be a holiday that does have a happy ending.

*To talk to Keri Forbess-McCorquodale about ways to manage stress on a daily basis or improve relationships, contact her at Solutions EAP.  That number is 310-2822.