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Make Your HOLIDAY Less Stressful and More Memorable

Make Your HOLIDAY Less Stressful and More Memorable If you, like most Americans, find this time of year both exhilarating and stressful, take heart. The physicians and providers at Lexington Clinic want you to know there are steps you can take to reduce your stress and still have a memorable holiday.

The two things Americans find most stressful during the holiday season – shopping for gifts and dealing with crowds – can be conquered. Many people manage this stress by shopping year-round. These are the people who proudly announce on Thanksgiving Day, “My shopping’s all done!”

As infuriating as this can be to hear, it really is a great approach as these year-round shoppers can choose how much holiday shopping they want to experience without the panic of having to find the perfect gifts. While this strategy spreads the expense over the entire year, it can also lead to overspending, as the temptation to pick up one more thing is ever-present.

While it’s too late now to do this, you can still plan shopping trips strategically. For example, many stores are opening early in the mornings, staying open late at night, or are open all night. Consider shopping in those off-peak hours, such as 6 a.m. on the way to work or 10 p.m. after the kids are in bed.

Of course, online shopping is an attractive option for those who truly hate stores. Just be careful where you go online, pay close attention to shipping timelines and make sure you understand return policies. An added benefit – you can usually send your gift directly to the recipient, saving a trip to the post office.

A December to remember
It’s easy to get lost in the twinkling lights, the grand displays and over-the-top gifts and forget the true meaning of the holiday. As a result of our quest to make it “the best holiday ever”, we often find ourselves stressed, irritated and disappointed. It’s easy to become jealous and competitive, focusing on outdoing the Joneses.

When feelings of envy begin to arise, remember it’s not the things we give or get that make the holidays special. It’s the time we spend with one another, the love we share and the memories we make. These will be with us long after the Michael Kors purse is out of style, the newest iPhone is on the technology scrap pile and the fancy car has been traded. Instead of focusing on things, focus on people. The most precious gift you have to give to anyone is your time and attention.

Dealing with grief
If you’ve recently lost a loved one, navigating the holidays can be especially stressful. Everywhere you look you’ll see reminders of the person you lost, memories of holidays past and perhaps even some guilt when you enjoy yourself.

Understand that you will experience a wide range of emotions during this time. Don’t isolate yourself, but don’t commit to doing more than you want. Allow yourself the opportunity to feel your feelings. Surround yourself with those you love.

If it feels right, find a way to honor and remember the person you lost. This may include outward gestures, such as making a memorial contribution to an organization important to your loved one, carrying on traditions the two of you shared or volunteering at a local non-profit. Or it may include more private observances, such listening to music the two of you enjoyed, looking at old photos or journaling.

Should you feel your grief is overwhelming or interferes with everyday activities, reach out to your primary care physician, pastor or other trusted person for help.

Overcommitting, overindulging and poor health
Overcommitting is stressful. How can you fit everything you’re asked to do into the short space between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day? The truth is, you cannot. The secret to reducing holiday stress is to learn to say no, politely and effectively. If the opportunity doesn’t spark a passion in your heart, pass. Dedicate your time and energy to the things that matter to you. Be totally where you are rather than wishing you were somewhere else.

Overindulging is as much a part of the holidays as lights and presents. We eat rich foods, skip exercise, imbibe a little too much, throw dietary restrictions to the wind and sacrifice sleep. There’s a price to be paid for these behaviors, and it’s poor health. Emergency room visits spike over the holidays, a direct result of these excesses. Be smart when it comes to “just a little.” Your body, and your health, will thank you.

The primary care physicians at Lexington Clinic wish you a happy and stress-free holiday. For more information about Lexington Clinic, please visit please visit the clinic online at lexingtonclinic.com/myprimarycare or call (859) 258-4000. New patients are always welcome.

Dedicate your time and energy to the things that matter to you. Be totally where you are rather than wishing you were somewhere else.

Overindulging is as much a part of the holidays as lights and presents. We eat rich foods, skip exercise, imbibe a little too much, throw dietary restrictions to the wind and sacrifice sleep. There’s a price to be paid for these behaviors, and it’s poor health. Emergency room visits spike over the holidays, a direct result of these excesses. Be smart when it comes to “just a little.” Your body, and your health, will thank you.

The primary care physicians at Lexington Clinic wish you a happy and stress-free holiday. For more information about Lexington Clinic, please visit please visit the clinic online at lexingtonclinic.com/myprimarycare or call (859) 258-4000. New patients are always welcome.

1.3
Pounds gained Thanksgiving – New Years. Half of it will stay with you for the rest of your life.

80%
Of people say the holidays cause them to be very or somewhat stressed.

$906
Average American family spending on Christmas gifts in 2017.

71%
Will spend Christmas at home. 33% plan to visit relatives; 17% plan to see friends; 4% are taking a vacation.

10%
Estimated spike in ER visits over the Christmas holiday.

30%
Of home fires occur in December, January and February. Holiday fires are also more severe, resulting in greater loss of property and life.

Sources: New England Journal of Medicine, American Psychological Association, Statista, U.S. Fire Administration, Business Insider, Consumer Reports.

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