Winter blues: Beat post-holiday stress

The holiday season is one of the most enjoyable times of the year for many people. For others, however, this can be a very stressful time of year—especially as the holidays wind down and the bills come in. If this is how you feel, understand that you’re not alone. Far more people than you realize—up to 80 percent, according to some polls—say the holidays leave them feeling stressed out.

A return to your pre-holiday routine is key. Diet guidelines, budgets, and regular exercise may have gone out the window in the whirlwind of holiday activity. Time to get back on track! Start eating healthy foods consistently and taking time to engage in physical activity a few times each week. If you overspent during the holidays, build a budget or write down a plan to help you reach your monetary goals.

If the stress you’re feeling is making each and every day a struggle, speak to your doctor and see what kind of help is available. You may be at risk of something more serious than stress, such as depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

The start of a new year is a great time to reevaluate and set goals. Plan to work on taking care of yourself this year. Make your health a priority—for yourself and those around you—with the goal of reducing stress and anxiety. Try a new activity like yoga or tai chi; vow to get your blood pressure checked regularly, or take a walk a few times each week. Make sure to schedule regular appointments with your primary care physician. By the time the holidays roll around next year, you’ll be in great shape to enjoy all the blessings of the season!

George Hulse is Vice President of External Affairs at Healthfirst. For more tips on leading a healthier lifestyle, visit the Healthfirst Healthy Living website at www.hfhealthyliving.com.

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