The holidays are here, and if you’re like most people, you may find yourself feeling a bit stressed out during this time of year.

So, What is Stress?

In simple terms, stress is your body’s reaction to having to deal with more than you are used to. Stress is often caused by major life events: divorce, losing a job, experiencing the death of a loved one, even having family members visit during the holidays. The more serious the event is, the greater the stress.

A little bit of stress every now and then is perfectly normal. But high levels of continuous stress can lead to a number of health problems, including diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease – just to name a few.

Focus on Your Long-Term Health

If you think you’ve been living with long-term stress, see your family physician to find out if the stress is caused by a medical condition. Your physician can also recommend ways to manage your stress over time.

Regular moderate exercise may be the single best approach to dealing with stress.

Relaxation skills, such as meditation or yoga, are helpful.

A number of prescription medications may also be considered.

Find Some Joy

For a little relaxation to help with occasional stress factors, try some simple things to find that extra peace of mind.

  • Go for a long walk
  • Get a massage
  • Take a long, soothing bath
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Read a new book
  • Practice deep breathing exercises
  • Take a nap
  • Find a fun project to work on
  • Say ‘No’

Most of all, sometimes it’s important to just have some ‘you time’. We all need a little break now and then, and even a little break can make a big difference in helping to reduce stress.