THE festive season should be all about family time, reconnecting with loved ones and generally, producing that warm and fuzzy feeling of joy and well-being, right?
And in some ways it is, but it’s also a busy season of increased spending, long queues, over-indulgence, bumper-to-bumper traffic round the shopping centres and other high stress-inducing factors – hence the common reference to it as “silly season”.
Peter Jordan, principal officer for Fedhealth, says careful planning, time management and staying mentally and physically fit as well as following a healthy lifestyle are key ways to combating this kind of seasonal stress.
He outlines Fedhealth’s top 10 stress- busters for the silly season:
- Face up to it: The onset of the festive season affects everyone differently, some are lonely and feel depressed, and some may miss a loved one who has passed away more acutely than ever. Others may worry about finances.
- Whatever it is, avoiding the issue or agonising about it in silence, will just cause further stress. It’s important to lean on a support system, whether it is a friend, a professional counsellor or a trusted family member.
- Shop online: There are countless websites that offer great holiday season deals, and even groceries can be purchased online. It saves the time and the stress of dealing with over-crowded shopping centres and ill-tempered shoppers.
- Volunteer: There are several homeless shelters, children’s homes, senior citizens’ homes and other institutions that need help, particularly over this period, when many regular volunteers go away. And nothing beats stress better than making a difference in someone else’s life.
- Limit your caffeine intake: Caffeine, which is present in coffee, tea, chocolate and some carbonated drinks, increases blood pressure and stops the body’s adrenal glands from functioning at the best.
- Get regular exercise: This assists the body to produce endorphins – a natural anti-depressant – which also helps prevent insomnia.
- Stick to a healthy diet:
Abalanced diet which includes yoghurt, fruit, cottage cheese and high-fibre cereal helps regulate the blood sugar levels.
- Avoid excessive alcohol: Alcohol is a nervous system depressant and, over the long term, causes depression rather than relieving it.
- Get enough sleep: While adults need eight hours of sleep per day, few get more than seven, but sleep is vital in recharging and aiding the body’s healing process – both physically and mentally.
- Learn relaxation techniques: When the body completely relaxes, it stops producing an excess of cortisol which, in turn, enhances the immune system, effectively lowering the risk of infection.
- Have a massage: An aromatherapy, reflexology or a deep tissue massage goes a long way towards releasing tension in tight muscles and produces a calming effect.
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