Monday, December 19, 2011

8 Ways to Combat Stress During the Holidays

With the holidays around the corner, times might be starting to get a little stressful. There’s last minute gift shopping, menu planning, travel plans, etc. We all know that stress can make symptoms of IBD worse, so I wanted to give you a few ways to try and alleviate some stress this holiday season.

1. Make lists – Before you go shopping, try and figure out what it is that you want to buy the people you have left. Write down their names and the gift you are planning on buying so you know exactly who you have left to buy for and where you need to go. If you’re not sure yet what to buy, at least write down their name so you don’t need to think about it later. If you are cooking the holiday dinner, write out separate lists for what dishes you are planning to make and ingredients you need to get. While you are cooking, cross off each dish after you complete it so you know what you have left to do. If you are traveling, make lists for what you have left to do to plan your trip, things you need to pack, etc. Being organized will reduce your stress level tremendously.
2. Have you been invited to a ton of holiday parties? Are you wondering how you are going to attend them all? Don’t worry about attending everything! Prioritize the parties you really want to attend and tell the others you are sorry you can’t make it. Everyone knows this is a busy time of year so they will most likely understand if you can’t come this year.
3. Take time out for yourself – In order to reduce stress during the holidays, take some time out for yourself, even if it’s only for a few minutes per day. Read a book you enjoy, take a yoga class, watch your favorite TV show…whatever it is that helps you to relax.
4. Make a financial budget and stick to it – Most people tend to over spend during the holidays which then can create more stress once you get the credit card bill. Come up with a reasonable budget for yourself to spend on gifts, decorations, food, etc. and then stick as close to it as you can.
5. Delegate – If you need help shopping for presents, cooking, decorating, or cleaning, ask for help! You don’t need to do everything yourself!
6. Keep your regular routine – During this time of year, things are so hectic that it’s hard to get everything in. In order to reduce stress on yourself and your family, try to stick to your regular routine as much as possible, at least during the week. Have regular meal times, stick to your regular work-out schedule, and go to bed at the same time you usually do.
7. Make sure to keep your doctor’s appointments and take your medications at your regular times – Sometimes when we are so busy, it is easy to cancel doctor’s appointments and forget medications but doing so may exacerbate symptoms.
8. Enjoy the time you have off from work and enjoy the time you are spending with your family.

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