Holiday stress? Four ways to minimize it.

The list of things you “should” be doing right now is probably a dozen items long, and if you’re like most people, it doesn’t include sleep, exercise or relaxation. Taking a little time out of your day to focus on you — especially during a busy time like the holiday season — is essential to maintaining mental and physical health.

Here are a few important ways to keep stress to a minimum:

  1. Eat right and exercise. Maintaining a balanced diet ensures you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals necessary to remain alert and vibrant each day, while regular exercise releases mood-enhancing endorphins.
  2. Get enough sleep. Some people function well on as few as six hours, while others require as many as nine hours of sleep. If you feel best with eight hours of sleep but are getting only five or six each night, try to get to bed a little earlier.
  3. Set limits and boundaries. Take mental notes about what your schedule involves on a good day and what it’s like on a bad day. Compare the details to get an idea of what you can handle comfortably, and then avoid stretching yourself too far.
  4. Be OK with saying “no.” If you just don’t have time for all of the invitations and responsibilities that pile up over the holidays, weed out what you can. It’s OK to say “no” and not feel guilty about it.

Learning how to cope with stress can save you from serious physical and behavioral problems in the future. We offer a wide variety of behavioral health services for children, teens, young adults and adults at the St.Vincent Stress Center.

To schedule an appointment, call 317-415-9147 to reach our Fishers location (St.Vincent Medical Center Northeast) or 317-338-4800 for the St.Vincent Indianapolis Hospital office. For our 24-hour confidential crisis line, call 800-872-2210.

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