The holidays are marked by joyful adjectives. Words like “merry” and “jolly” become part of our regular lexicon.
Still, even though we may be saying—or singing— happy words doesn’t necessarily mean we’re feeling that way.
For some people, expressions such as “overwhelmed” and “frazzled” may be more appropriate.
Shelly Rottner, a family nurse practitioner at Tidelands Health Family Medicine at Prince Creek in Murrells Inlet, says it doesn’t have to be that way. By incorporating a few simple strategies, you can ease the stress that can accompany the holidays and immerse yourself in the spirit of the season.
1. Stay healthy
Everything is harder when you’re not feeling well. Protect your health by doing your best to avoid the cold and flu – make sure to benefit from a flu shot and stay diligent about handwashing. Although tempting, try to avoid excessive snacking and overeating and keep up with your regular fitness routine.
2. Plan ahead
If you can, buy gifts and meal ingredients ahead of time. This will help you avoid last-minute dashes to packed stores, frantically searching for items on your list. Taking a little time up front to plan will save you from feeling a last-minute crunch.
3. Don’t attempt an Instagram-worthy holiday
Perfectionism is, perhaps, one of the biggest sources of stress during the holidays. Focus on the things that matter, such as the meaning of the holidays and memorable time spent with family and friends. A leaning Christmas tree or burnt rolls are simply part of life. Learn to feel at ease with the ups and downs of the season, and you and your loved ones will enjoy happier holidays.
4. Ask for help
Don’t try to do everything yourself. Let your kids get more involved (even if they make mistakes along the way) and take advantage of a family member’s offer to cook some extra dishes for the holiday meal.
5. Focus on others
The best way to reduce holiday stress is to take your mind off your ever-growing holiday to-do list and find ways to make others’ holiday burdens lighter. Whether it’s helping an elderly relative with his or her holiday shopping or collecting gifts for children who are less fortunate, helping others will boost your own emotional and mental well-being, while also getting into the true spirit of the holidays.
Interested in learning more? Attend either of two informative Healthy Conversations programs Tidelands Health will be hosting at area libraries in November.
Rottner will discuss strategies to reduce holiday stress on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at Socastee Library and Friday, Nov. 22, at Carolina Forest Library.
The presentation at Socastee Library, located at 141 707 Connector Road in Myrtle Beach, will begin at noon. The presentation at Carolina Forest Library, located at 2250 Carolina Forest Blvd. in Myrtle Beach, begins at 12:30 p.m.
There is no cost to attend either of the programs, and lunch will be provided.
RSVP for the Socastee Library presentation by Friday, Nov. 15, at the library or by calling 843-215-4700. The deadline to register for the Carolina Forest Library presentation is Wednesday, Nov. 20, at the library or by calling 843-915-5282.