Cope with holiday stress by focusing on giving, joy - Camp Lejeune Globe: Carolina Living

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Cope with holiday stress by focusing on giving, joy

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Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2018 10:00 am

The infamous Black Friday is upon us. One of the biggest shopping days of the year can provide some sweet deals on items we may have our eye on for others and ourselves. It is an official beginning to the holiday rush of shopping, decorating and running around like a madman trying to make the holiday “special.” This mindset and accompanying actions can also be a significant source of stress. Stress can weaken your immune system, cause fatigue and lower your mood. These are not symptoms you want to deal with during the holidays.

Instead of facing the possibility of these symptoms, effectively manage your stress instead. I would like to provide some tips on doing that so you and your family can actually enjoy the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

1) Keep the holidays in perspective.

We get bombarded with commercials featuring the latest gadgets and home decor to feast our eyes upon. While buying gifts is a great way to show our love towards others, going to an extreme can be unhealthy. This can lead to buying more than you can afford, which is very stressful after you see your bank balance.

Make and stick to a budget. Consider compiling a list of people you want to give to this season and stay in your price range. If needed, visit with a certified financial management specialist ahead of time. Such services are often provided free of charge for service members and their families. Your wallet and mind will thank you.

2) Do not overbook your schedule.

Traveling and seeing loved ones or new sights can be one of the season’s greatest joys. However, you can overdo it. Trying to fill your schedule to the brim with stuff to do will not increase your joy, but rather take it away. As with the previous recommendation, make a list of the people and places you have the time and money to reach. Keep within those boundaries. This will allow you to enjoy and soak in the presence of people you do go see and enjoy where you are visiting. Travel should be an enriching experience, not a strenuous one.

3) Remember to have fun.

I know this sounds way too simple. That’s the point. The holidays are intended to be a time to take a break from our normal routines and enjoy family, friends, food and fun. Go to parties, bake snowman cookies, sing carols and look in awe at Christmas lights with your kids. You’re not too old to enjoy yourself.

Giving back carries its own joys as well. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, help distribute blankets and visit those who might be lonely this season. There are plenty of organizations and opportunities to get outside yourself and contribute to great causes.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving. Remember to keep your mental health jolly. For more advice on holiday stress management, visit https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20047544. For local mental health resources, visit http://www.mccslejeune-newriver.com/counseling.

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