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How to Avoid the Top 5 Causes of Holiday Stress

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It’s easy to let stress override the joy of the holiday season, a time when you want to focus on the people and traditions most important to you. Here’s a look at the top 5 causes of holiday stress and ways to help you relax and enjoy the season.


Remember what truly matters. Instead of elaborate gifts, consider cookie exchanges, "Secret Santa," other low budget ideas that keep costs down and spirits up.


Have realistic expectations. No Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or other celebration is, or needs to be perfect. Slow down and take time for yourself. This will actually give you more energy to accomplish your goals.


Keep things in perspective. Approach family visits with an open mind and avoid jumping to conclusions. Use holidays as a chance to reconnect and share positive experiences.


Be realistic as you make plans to visiting family and friends. You can’t please everyone. If possible, travel at times when there will be less traffic.

Weight management

Between festive gatherings and less time for exercise, it can be challenging to maintain healthy habits over the holidays. Use good judgment with food choices and portion sizes, but if you have one day of over-indulgence, get back on track the next day. Do not let overeating become the norm over the holiday season. Monitor your weight weekly. Avoid using food to manage holiday stress. Find enjoyable alternatives: make a holiday craft, treat yourself to a massage, read by the fire, exercise.

Keep things simple and when January rolls around, you’ll look back at the holidays with fond memories instead of relief.

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Jennifer M. Collins, PsyD

Jennifer Collins, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist with LG Health Physicians Neuropsychology and Chief Well-Being Officer for LG Health Physicians. A graduate of the Pennsylvania State University and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Collins’ areas of expertise include healthy weight management, stress management, and helping patients cope with medical conditions like obesity, fibromyalgia, infertility and stroke and other neurological conditions.

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About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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