The holidays are supposed to be relaxing, joyous and fun, but for millions of Americans they bring stress, anxiety and even depression.
Numerous studies have shown upwards of 70 percent of Americans feeling stressed as Christmas bears down on them. A survey by Think Finance revealed that 45 percent of 1,000 respondents would prefer to skip Christmas altogether.
Why has the national mood swung from Santa Claus is Coming to Town to The Grinch Who Stole Christmas? A lack of time, shortage of money, an excessive amount of expectations and a burdensome commitment to gift-buying are some of the top reasons people list for their stress levels reaching higher than the top of the Christmas tree.
To make the season more enjoyable, and to reduce stress, Dr. Raj Gupta says people should make their overall wellness a higher priority on their long holiday to-do list.
“Physical exercise makes the mental strain of the season much more manageable and can substantially decrease the stress one feels from all the demands,” says Gupta, author of Wellness Center Solution: How Physicians Can Transform Their Practices, Their Income and Their Lives, and founder of Soul Focus Wellness Center. “Exercise and some refreshing thinking and relaxing techniques help if done on a consistent basis.”
Gupta lists four ways to beat holiday stress:
“People who are over-burdened often make time for everybody and everything but themselves, and that takes a toll,” Gupta says. “People troubled every holiday season by all the pressures must ask themselves, ‘Do I want to enjoy this?’ If so, they need to step away for a few minutes each day, get in a sweat, and get in tune with themselves.”