7 tips for managing holiday stress

The holidays are supposed to be happy, but they can also be stressful.  Here are seven ideas for having a happier (and healthier) holiday season:

  1. Plan ahead. Block time for the events and tasks that are most important to you. Don’t feel bad about saying “no” when you reach your limit.
  2. Rest up. We know you’re busy, but make sure sleep is at the top of your “to-do” list! Adults should aim for seven to eight hours of restful sleep every night to feel at their best.[1]
  3. Eat healthy. Fuel up with a well-balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, lean protein and whole grains. And despite the temptation, avoid sugary drinks and processed foods. They can sap your energy.
  4. Drink alcohol in moderation. Enjoy holiday festivities, but don’t use alcohol to manage stress.
  5. Relax your muscles. Many of us carry tension throughout our bodies. Try stretching or taking a hot shower to give muscles a little TLC.
  6. Move! Go for a short walk or jog, take a dance break between wrapping presents or find another way to get moving. Exercise can help you destress and improve your mood.
  7. When you feel overwhelmed, breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds and repeat four times. Deep breathing is a great way to relax and clear your mind.

If stress goes too far

These tips are fine for minor holiday-related headaches. But get help if you have persistent stress,  contact your doctor’s office or a mental health professional.

ConnectiCare members can get support using their behavioral health benefit through Optum. Call 1-888-946-4658 or visit liveandworkwell.com and use access code “connecticare.” You’ll find hotlines, information and help.

On behalf of the ConnectiCare family, we wish you a happy and stress-free holiday season!

[1] https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20181011/what-the-right-amount-of-sleep