Coping with Holiday Stress

We’ve been talking about the significance of stress, the negative effects it has on our body and the ways we can balance it. In my new book “The Power of 5: The Ultimate Formula for Longevity & Remaining Youthful,” I discuss what I refer to as the two flavors of stress: emotional and physical. I encourage you to take action with intent, using relaxation techniques and meditation.

People who are prone to stress over a prolonged period of time or someone in the family who might be referred to as a “worry wort” can experience the effects of harmful hormones that get released into our bodies. As we age, these effects can manifest into diseases and researchers are discovering ways that stress affects pre- vs. post-menopausal women, women vs. men, and even in patients who developed Alzheimer’s disease.

So here we are ready to begin the holiday season, and already we may be finding ourselves, or the ones we love, with our heads barely above water. Here are some suggestions to help you get through the holidays this year …

Family Get-Togethers

If you enjoy hosting the holidays but find yourself stressed out and a bit of a Grinch at times, consider accepting help from friends and family. Here’s an example … family dinners can become a potluck by allowing guests to bring an appetizer, side dish or dessert. If the kids are in need of entertainment, put on a holiday movie in the other room and let them all gather together.

Caregivers

If you’ve recently become a caregiver to a loved one and the holidays are a busy time for you, look into local caregiving resources to help lighten your load — many offer respite services. An emergency alert system and/or a wireless video monitor can also be a helpful tool.

Remember, stress at any age can take a toll on our bodies, especially this time of year. If you’d like to learn more about how we can cope with stress, I invite you to read my new book.

To a long and healthy life,
David Bernstein, MD