Sponsored By And Provided By LifeBridge Health

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, according to the famous Andy Williams song. The holiday season is filled with love, compassion, joy and time with family and friends. But for some, the holidays invoke feelings of stress, and it can be a time far from wonderful.

“During the holiday season, a lot of people feel stressed by the busyness, the expectations and sometimes the disconnect that you’re not in the greatest mood like others around you,” says Drew A. Pate, MD, chief of psychiatry for LifeBridge Health.

People can feel stress from the multiple events and commitments they have scheduled and from being obligated to see people they rarely see during the year. The COVID-19 pandemic has added to the list of stressors, Dr. Pate notes, with concerns about travel, family gatherings and exposure.

“We all feel overwhelmed at times; it’s a normal human experience,” says Dr. Pate. “It’s when things happen or we have a lot to do at once that’s particularly stressful. If you’re feeling irritable, it’s a sign that you’re probably allowing stress to get to you. This can build to affect your sleep, influence activity patterns, and increase alcohol and substance use to try to alleviate stress through external means. It’s a sign that you need to be mindful of and pay attention to.”

Instead of giving in to those feelings and isolating from others during this time of year, take a proactive approach and concentrate on self-care. Dr. Pate offers some suggestions:

  • Stay active
  • Make sleep a priority
  • Avoid overeating and excessive drinking throughout the season
  • Stay involved with others
  • Avoid withdrawing or socially isolating
  • Take a limited break if feeling overwhelmed
  • Find a balance – limit trips to the store if that exacerbates feelings
  • Monitor your emotions
  • Maintain connections through remote tools to see those not traveling
  • Set small goals and complete small tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed
  • Find activities that make you happy

Dr. Pate will host a virtual session on Managing Holiday Stress on Wednesday, December 15 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Click here to register for this free virtual health event.