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This might surprise you—the holidays don’t have to be stressful. By making good choices, you can reduce stress and enjoy this time of year, says Linda Halbrook, M.D., a family medicine physician on the medical staff at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano. She offers the following tips for a happy and low-stress season.
1. Make a list. “Make a list of all the things you need or want to do,” she says. “Then, prioritize it, and make sure that rest, exercise and healthy eating are at the top.”
2. Give yourself a break. Look at your list and give yourself the freedom to accomplish only 75 or 80 percent of it. “Let yourself focus on the joy of the season and the people around you, rather than the details,” Dr. Halbrook says. And if you happen to finish your own list, help others.
3. Get your ZZZs. Make sure you’re getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night. This helps keep your immune system strong and your stress levels in check.
4. Pause. “Whether it’s prayer, meditation or a simple quiet moment alone, everybody needs a little bit of downtime in their day,” she says.
5. Keep moving. The holidays are no reason to stop your exercise regimen. Exercise ups your endorphins, Dr. Halbrook says, and that helps stress levels.
6. Say “yes” to “no.” It’s OK to say no, Dr. Halbrook says. You don’t have to go to every party or buy gifts for every co-worker.
The holidays can be emotionally difficult for some. If you or someone you know has signs of depression — excess fatigue, not being able to concentrate, not enjoying life, changes in appetite, or feelings of worthlessness or guilt — talk to a medical professional immediately. Click here to find a physician.
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