Press Releases: Northern California
December 8, 2010
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, But the Holidays Can Be Stressful for Those Who Try to Do Too Much
Managing time and expectations are important for making sure you arenít overwhelmed by the demands of the season
OAKLAND, Calif. — The holidays can be a joyful time, offering a chance to reconnect with friends and family. But they also can be stressful. Maybe you are worried about money, and there never seems to be enough time to get things done.
“Out-of-town guests, parties, shopping lists, menus. For many people, the crush of activity during the holiday season prevents them from enjoying what should be a joyful time,” said Don Mordecai, MD, regional director of mental health and chemical dependency services for Kaiser Permanente in Northern California. “If people who are prone to holiday stress can identify the usual triggers, they can head it off with a little thought and planning.”
Here are some tips for taming holiday stress from the health encyclopedia at Kaiser Permanente’s website, a free online resource that is available to all:
Preparing for the holidays
- Know your spending limit. Money worries are among the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season. Set a budget, and don’t spend more than you’ve planned. It’s OK to tell your children that a certain toy costs too much. Don’t buy gifts that you’ll spend the rest of the year trying to pay off.
- Give something personal. You can show love and caring with any gift that is meaningful and personal. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. Or use words instead of an expensive gift to let people know how important they are to you. Make a phone call or write a note and share your feelings.
- Get organized. Make lists or use an appointment book to keep track of tasks to do and events to attend.
- Share the tasks. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Share your “to-do” list with others. Spend time with friends and family while you share tasks like decorating, wrapping gifts, and preparing the holiday meal.
- Learn to say no. It’s okay to say “no” to events that aren’t important to you. This will give you more time to say “yes” to events that you do want to attend.
- Be realistic. Try not to put pressure on yourself to create the perfect holiday for your family. Focus instead on the traditions that make holidays special for you. And remember that just because it’s a holiday, family problems don’t go away. If you have a hard time being around your relatives, it’s okay to set limits on your time at events and visits.
During the holidays
- Take breaks from group activities. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Spend a little time by yourself if you can. Meditate, or do some relaxation breathing. Go for a short walk.
- Keep a regular sleep, meal, and exercise schedule. Limit your alcohol. Taking care of yourself will help you deal with stressful situations during the holidays.
- Get support if you need it. Holidays can sometimes trigger depression. They can be especially hard if you are already dealing with the death of a loved one or the breakup of a relationship. You may feel embarrassed to ask for help, or you may think that you’ll get over “the blues” on your own. But most people need treatment to get better. Talk with your doctor about counseling and medicine for depression.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 8.6 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to www.kp.org/newscenter.