Tag Archives: Holiday Stress

Top Five Sharing Tips for Holidays 2015

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Holiday Greeting w-Label_Hui 2015Holiday time can be both joyful and overwhelmingly stressful. What is on your mind? Consider the following TOP FIVE thoughts and tips:

1. Gratitude It’s the best attitude!

Gratitude implies both the thankfulness to others for their aids in any way and a conscious, habitual focus on all positive aspects of life. Many Americans are stressed over traveling, gift shopping, cooking, disappointing (for various reasons) and debt. Counting blessings has a proven favorable effect on the human well-being.

2. Family and friends – Bonus is Fit!

Forget about work, stress, and any negative feelings, let your heart and spirit go with those of your family and friends, enjoy love, laughter, happy memories and fun time. One of the big challenges is health. Unhealthy diet and large portions of food, time on the couch, drinks and comprised sleep can all add up to a toll on your weight gain. Finding a way to move or boost your physical activities is very beneficial. For those weight-loss enthusiasts, how about losing 1-2 pounds over the holidays instead of gaining more?

3. Cancer care family

Individuals who are diagnosed, suffering or survived cancer, and those who want to fight or prevent cancer are all in one family. If you are a cancer patient or a cancer survivor, take it easy and enjoy simple pleasures or people around you. If someone close to you has cancer or you are a caregiver, take care of yourself and delegate more. If you have lost a loved one, the holidays can be understandably more difficult. Feel free to express your emotions and work through grief slowly. Remember, you’re not fighting cancer alone and you don’t have to cope with your loss alone either. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

4. Time for yourself

This should genuinely apply to everybody. Loving what you do is a blessing, whether it is your career or your pleasure or leisure. So, make sure to set aside some quiet or alone time for yourself, relax, recharge and re-energize or renew yourself.

5.  Heartfelt thanks for our military and their families.

Remember our military soldiers and families as well as veterans for their sacrifice to protect our country and our safety. While it’s understandable that Americans get concerned and anxious over national security, let’s transform fear and restlessness to gratitude and goodness by showing appreciation and helping them in any way we can. We can also contribute to peace and help end all forms of suffering of mankind.

Best wishes for a warm, wonderful Holiday Season & a healthier, happier 2016!

How to Enjoy a Happy and Stress-proof Holiday Season

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Stress_is-it-friday-yet-704781-mHoliday Season is approaching! Are you excited or stressed out? The primary cancer risk factors during holidays are stress and unhealthy diet. We have covered the diet factor in a number of previous blogs, and let’s focus on coping stress here.

Holiday realities

The holidays are both a wonderful and stressful time of the year. Besides the usual work load and family commitments, we have new functions or activities, as we rush around trying to meet looming deadlines. Parties and social events, holiday shopping, decorating, trips, holiday meals, going to the new movie releases, entertaining the guests, … see how much we try to cram into the festive season! It gives me a headache just naming all the things.

The key danger of stress

Now imagine doing all that. It’s certainly a recipe for stress. Holiday stress normally falls into categories of financial, physical, psychological/emotional drains. Stress has a negative effect on your health. This is not just a theory. Many studies have found key mechanistic evidence at the cellular level. Chronic stress and/or depression can increase the body production of cytokines, that is, immune-modulating substances. One of them is called interleukin-6 (IL-6). High serum levels of IL-6 have been linked to risks for several adverse conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, mental health complications, and some cancers.

The relationship between stress and cancer is complex. Many factors may come into play. However, research has demonstrated that stress factors (e.g., the death of a spouse, divorce, social isolation, and medical school examinations) alter some white blood cell functions and promote immune dysfunction.

Additionally, many people who are stressed end up eating, drinking and smoking more but exercising and sleeping less, which would certainly worsen negative consequences for our health. Taken together, stress reduction is of importance for many health reasons.

Anti-stress-1-183748-mWin control over stress with top 8 effective tips:

Since mental stress can translate into negative physical changes in the body, this year I challenge you to have a stress-proof holiday season, and let the joyful spirit of the season boost your immune system! Here is how you achieve that.

1.      Plan ahead based on PBS. The keywords are Prioritize, Be realistic, and Simplify (PBS).

2.      Take it easy. Make the holidays enjoyable rather than perfect. If a card cannot get to its destiny on time, give the person a surprise call on that holiday morning! If you don’t feel like cooking or baking, buy some packaged prepared meals as an alternative, or go without one or two “traditions”. Instead of spending hours in the malls or sitting in the traffic, shop online for gifts to save time and get good deals.

3.      Tap the resources within your family, from neighbors and friends. Do what you enjoy, and make it fun for everyone. If you love decorating trees but hate shopping or dishwashing, trade chores within the family, so everyone picks up their favorite task.

4.      Create a budget within your means to avoid “New Year Depression” on debt. Folk wisdom tells us to shop ahead of time for bargains. However, we all can be creative and spend less, believe it or not. If your budget doesn’t allow you to buy expensive gifts, buy a small one. Everyone appreciates a gift regardless of its size. If it’s too costly to attend a fancy party, organize a new, fun activity to celebrate at home or go to a movie.

5.      Listen to your body and take care of it. If you are tired, acknowledge it; if you need a treat or massage, get it; and if exercises or physical activities make you feel good, go for it.  Also, be sure to get enough sleep.

6.      Practice stress-relieving techniques, particularly those that work for you. Breathe deeply, meditate freely, visualize a peaceful scene, or listen to soothing music. Enjoy some quiet time or “down” time for yourself, especially when you feel over-stressed or under uncomfortable conditions. Caution! Just because the letters in desserts can be used to spell stressed, it doesn’t mean you need to relieve stress with desserts. Avoid over-eating, particularly high sugar and/or high calorie foods.

7.      Laugh, laugh, and laugh! Laughter is an effective medicine.

8.     The holiday season is a time of Family, Friends and Fun! This is perhaps the most important tip of all! Connecting with others for laughter or fun, and love is the best stress-reliever as well as the most effective immune-booster. Please remember, for some, this is a time of loneliness and depression. Invite them to your home; show kindness to them. If you are alone during the holidays, reaching out to help others can benefit your own physical and psychological well-being.

If you like this post, please share it.  Sharing is caring and giving.

Image credit: by brainloc and Allyson

Coping with the Holiday Stress

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Family-unity_istock-photo-17507571Here we are in this festive Holiday Season full of beauty, joy, love, and cheer. But do you know that medical research shows that one of the clinical triggers for heart attack is holidays like Christmas and New Year’s day? Evidence also indicates that stress management can reduce the risk.

Holiday stress can come in various forms and levels, and from a wide range of activities, including gift shopping, cooking or baking, entertaining, partying, and traveling. Today, I’ll provide 30 strategies that can help you cope with stress during the Holidays and into the New Year.

First, understand stress versus your needs

Stress is a fact of life, even during the Holidays. It occurs when things seem to be going wrong or there’s too much to do and not enough time. One basic way to deal with things when you feel overwhelmed and stressed out is to set priorities and put things in perspective. Keep these points in mind this Holiday season:

  • Materials or gifts might bring you a moment of sensation or joy, but cannot fulfill your inner happiness.
  • Meeting outside social obligations and expectations might seem important, but it can’t replace time for family, friends, and fun.
  • Adjust your standards and any unrealistic desires so as to find happiness or contentment through satisfactory alternatives. Refocus on the “haves” instead of the “have-nots.”

Here are 30 easy ways to reduce holiday stress and change your mood:

  1. Have a dinner with your friend(s).
  2. Go for a long walk on a new route.
  3. Delegate family duties, such as cleaning or baking, to make it a teamwork time.
  4. Give yourself a time-out period. Just take a break.
  5. Go on a tour to see Christmas lighting decorations.
  6. Buy yourself a treat. It could be flowers, a delicious dinner, or whatever makes you feel special.
  7. Take a hot bath.
  8. Laugh, laugh, and laugh! You can easily find reasons to laugh and lighten up by going out to a bookstore and locating a humorous book, finding humorous pages online, or watching a funny video. Or, you can just laugh for no reason other than it makes you feel good.
  9. Watch an inspirational movie.
  10. Meditate.
  11. Start a gratitude journal.
  12. Take a yoga class. It surely reduces stress.
  13. Listen to music and dance with the beat. “Dance like nobody is watching.”
  14. Get a massage or spa treatment, a manicure or a pedicure, whatever you prefer.
  15. Breathe deeper, taking long, slow, deep breaths.
  16. Write a letter to an old friend.
  17. Call up an old friend out of blue to catch up or tell a joke.
  18. Read a magazine.
  19. Take a trip down memory lane by looking through those old photos.
  20. Try a new fitness movement or a new class at the gym.
  21. Go for a bike ride (by yourself or with your family).
  22. Work in your garden, decorate with a signature plant.
  23. Re-arrange your surroundings (a room or the office) and keep it clutter free.
  24. Go shopping or window-shopping to see what’s new in the marketplace.
  25. Visit a pet store or maybe buy a new pet for yourself.
  26. Create or try a new recipe.
  27. Volunteer to help a neighbor, a friend, or your community.
  28. Take a nap
  29. Have a good night’s sleep.
  30. Go outside and gaze at the sky or stars at night.

And one more for good measure: Learn to say NO. Don’t let “Yes” and “Yes” overwhelm you. Trust that people around you, at home or work, will understand when you say “No” once a while.

Choose whatever works best for you out of these de-stressing techniques. Think up your own additions to the list. Finally, remember these important “3Fs”:

The Holiday Season is a time for Family, Friends and Fun.

 Have a wonderful and safe Holiday!

 

Image credit: iStock