Surviving the holidays

41868914 - girl pulling her hair in the office, stressedWhen did you realize the holidays were around the corner? Was it when you stumbled on Christmas trinkets an aisle over as you were shopping for Halloween goodies? When signs trimmed in holly reminded you that you only had 100 days left to shop for gifts? Or was it a phone call from Mom, wondering if you’d host Thanksgiving this year?

Chances are, whatever it was, you didn’t react with a burst of holiday spirit. Face it, the holidays are stressful. They challenge us physically, emotionally, and financially. We eat too much, we spend too much, and we wonder why we’re not up to still another festive gathering. There’s a good reason most of us hope the kids sleep in a bit on Christmas morning.

Stress itself is physical in nature, the anxiety beginning in the amygdala, the part of the brain that deals with intense emotional responses by sending impulses running through neurotransmitters to your sympathetic nervous system. Is it any wonder your heart beats faster, you’re running out of breath, and your muscles are tensing up?

While there are ways to relieve the stress, from preparing early to focusing on what’s truly important, many of us instead start experiencing physical symptoms without realizing where they’re coming from. According to Harvard Medical School, 30% of us go through it without seeking any sort of relief.

The problem is, ignoring the resulting stomachaches, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, insomnia and asthma attacks can lead to more serious disorders if left unchecked. But with WellVia, you have a telehealth option that is convenient, affordable, and available from the comfort of your own home, within minutes, 24/7/365. For less than $10 a month, your membership gives you and up to six dependents (including your spouse and children age 26 or younger) access to our board-certified, U.S. based bilingual physicians.

For a $30 consultation fee, you can get help at the first sign of symptoms, a stress-reliever in itself when you know help is near. Once other causes are dismissed and the symptoms are relieved, you can regain control, avoiding the stressors that trigger the physical reactions in the first place.

And here are a few tips for keeping holiday stress in check:

  • Make time to get some exercise in your daily routine. It releases endorphins and, along with getting enough sleep, leaves you physically ready to face whatever might come your way.
  • Make lists, one of things you’re looking forward to doing this holiday season and the other what you’re doing for others. Then strike a doable balance between the two, leaving yourself enough time to sit back and enjoy the holidays, too. Remember, it’s OK to say “no” on occasion.
  • Eat healthy. Take “thank-you bites” of the flood of goodies offered while maintaining a diet more friendly to your physical symptoms. This isn’t the time to shock the system!
  • Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Keep track of your blessings and watch for ways that you can be a blessing to others. There’s a lot of truth in that old adage about it being to better to give than receive.
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