WAYNE M. FICHTER JR.: Holiday stress management: Biggest causes of stress and anxiety

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The holidays can be a joyous and wonderful time, but there’s no denying that holiday stress can sometimes creep up on even the most calm and organized among us. Holiday parties, family get-togethers, and other holiday activities can all be fun, but the added demands on our time and attention can all contribute to holiday stress. And then there are the disruptions in regular schedules, travel, preparing meals, and managing house guests, and having less time for yourself. You have a perfect recipe for stress and anxiety.

Here are some common causes of holiday stress and anxiety and what you can do about them:

Less time, more obligations. Among the biggest causes of holiday stress are the additional events and activities that are added to often already-busy schedules. Christmas parties at school, work and church; Christmas shopping and preparing to either travel to see family or getting your house ready for guests are just some of the many extra things on the to do list that people have to contend with during the holiday season.

Fatigue: All that running around can often mean that you don’t have time to get enough rest. Physical exhaustion and lack of sleep can lead to increased stress and anxiety, and one of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety is — you guessed it — getting enough rest.

Financial worries: Another major contributing factor to holiday stress can be financial strain. The holidays can pack a wallop on the wallet and lead to stress and anxiety. Besides gifts, many people spend money eating out, traveling, going to shows, and participating in other holiday activities. All that added expense can add up to holiday stress.

Family get-togethers: While not being able to see family during the holidays can often be a source of sadness, spending lots of time with family — especially when packed together in one house for days while, say, visiting grandparents — can be a big contributor to holiday stress.

Make a list: Santa isn’t the only one who should be making a list. Write down your wish list of things you’d like to accomplish and be ruthless about whittling it down to things you must do.

Let others help: If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of having to cook an entire meal for Christmas or decorating for a party or tending to house guests, have others pitch in.

Get in some exercise: Hectic holiday schedules can often throw a wrench into regular routines, such as making time for exercise and eating a healthy diet. Ironically, not taking care of yourself can cause more stress and anxiety, leading to a vicious circle of holiday stress.

Recharge: Even if your hectic holiday schedule only allows you to spend a few minutes on yourself, take that time to go someplace quiet to recharge your batteries. Wherever and however you refresh your spirit depends on your individual preference. It could be a few minutes of quiet in a church, or a walk in a park.

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Dr. Wayne M. Fichter Jr. is a chiropractor at Natural Spine Solutions. The business is located at 3913 Schreiber Way in Coeur d’Alene. (208) 966-4425.

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