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Managing stress and other healthy holiday habits

November 14, 2023
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A family sitting together at a table having dinner

For many, the holiday season is a time of joy as we gather with friends and family. For others, this time of year can be stressful and isolating.

Here are some tips to take the stress out of your holiday celebrations so you can focus on your health and well-being.

Manage your holiday stress.

Stress is a natural part of life. But too much stress can affect your body and mind. Holiday activities and events can increase your stress levels. If you know the signs of stress you can take steps to manage it before it causes health problems.

Physical symptoms of stress include headaches and sleep issues. It can also cause muscle tension, upset stomach, or even getting sick more often. Stress might also affect your mood. It can cause you to feel anxious, overwhelmed, restless, grumpy, or sad.

To manage stress, be sure to get regular exercise. It’s also helpful to learn relaxation techniques. Those include things such as yoga, deep breathing, or meditation. Be sure to spend time with family and friends to ease stress and help you relax too. Do things you enjoy, such as reading or listening to music. Be sure to get enough sleep and avoid alcohol and tobacco.

You can learn more about signs of stress and how to manage it in these articles. Stress symptoms: Effects on your body and behavior – Mayo Clinic

What Is Stress and How Do I Manage It? (

Missing a loved one.

After a loss, the holidays can be a painful reminder of your loved one. You may feel more depressed or anxious at this time of year. If you feel overwhelmed by those feelings, it may be a sign you should talk to someone. Start with a family member or friend you trust, but don’t be afraid to discuss with your primary care physician, too. Your doctor can connect you to resources you need. CCA Member Services can help you find a mental health provider. This article has helpful tips for dealing with grief and loss during the holidays. 9 Tips for Dealing with Grief and Loss During the Holidays (

Focus on the important things.

The holidays are a special time. It’s also when we have more to do than usual. Many of us need to shop, wrap, and decorate. For others it means events to plan or attend. As the season gets busier, take time to figure out what is most important for you and your family. Be sure to ask for help when you need it. Another family member can help you with shopping or wrapping. Also, don’t feel like you should accept every invitation and attend every party. Remember that it’s okay to say no sometimes.

Be present.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of this busy time of year. But it’s important to “be present” too. Don’t let your phone and social media be your focus. Instead, be part of what is happening. Spend time talking and laughing with your loved ones. Make memories in your mind rather than on your device.

Don’t wait—get a head start on your New Year’s resolutions.

We know the new year often begins with well-intentioned resolutions. Yet studies show that most people give up on their resolutions by February. So, if you want to exercise more, eat better, or improve your mood, don’t wait for the new year — the best time to start is today. You can find success by setting goals that are SMART. That means they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and on a timeframe that works for you. Here’s a great article to help you be successful in your goals for better health. How to keep your (healthy) New Year’s resolutions – Commonwealth Care Alliance

Stay on track with your preventive care.

As another year comes to an end, it’s a great time to take stock of your health needs. Did you have your annual wellness visit this year? Did you get your flu shot and your latest COVID-19 vaccine? Have you seen your specialists lately? Are you due for a mammogram or colonoscopy? Give yourself the gift of health by scheduling the appointments you need. If you take these simple steps today, you may avoid health complications in the future.

From our family here at CCA, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.

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