The Holiday season is here!

Are those words warm and joyful for you – or do they press down on you like a 2-ton fruitcake, putting more pressure into your already busy and stressful life? The Holidays are often a time of joy, fun, and family togetherness, but they can also be fraught with demands, expectations and stress. According to the National Mental Health Association, reasons for feeling blue around the holidays are numerous. They range from fatigue, a result of all of the increased holiday activity, to financial limitations and family tensions. Experts say one of the fastest routes to holiday depression is unrealistic expectations.

Carilion Clinic asks you to Care for Your Spirit this holiday season so you can maximize your happiness and minimize your frustration. Listed below are 5 ideas from to help you stay holiday-ready. Let these tips and ideas help you Care for Your Spirit this holiday season – wishing you all the best from Carilion Clinic.

  • Maintain your mental health. Make sure you get seven hours of sleep a night, exercise, eat three square meals a day, avoid junk food and limit yourself to two alcoholic drinks a night if you’re a man, one if you’re a woman.
  • Combine social activities with exercise. Become part of a running club or hiking club, for instance.
  • Hand-make gifts or give the gift of your time (inexpensive yet priceless).
  • Volunteer to help those who are in need or even just lonely – your time and thoughtfulness will be a true gift of the season.
  • Get together with a group of friends and shop for people in need rather than each other. Finally, if you find stress is getting the better of you, don’t wait for a quiet evening or weekend to de-stress. Use one of the techniques recommended below from Harvard Medical School’s “Portable Guide to Stress Relief”:
    • If you have one minute: While sitting comfortably, take a few slow, deep breaths and quietly repeat to yourself,
    • “I am,” as you breathe in, and “at peace,” as you breathe out. Repeat slowly two or three times. Then feel your entire body relax into the support of the chair.
    • If you have two minutes: Countdown slowly from 10 to zero, and with each number, take one complete breath, inhaling and exhaling. For example, breathe in deeply saying, “10,” to yourself; breathe out slowly. On your next breath, say, nine,” and so on. If you feel lightheaded, count down more slowly to space your breaths further apart. When you reach zero, you should feel more relaxed. If not, repeat the exercise.

Conquer Financial Holiday Stress

At Carilion Clinic, we help women be as healthy as possible through every stage of life. Right here in our own community, we have a full range of board-certified doctors and dedicated support staff. We offer preventive screening options, advanced diagnostic techniques, and cutting-edge treatment. All in an environment that is warm, personalized, and patient-centered.