Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Holiday plate full? Don’t sweat it

As the holiday season nears, many are anticipating the stress that often accompanies it.

“There’s a lot of talk about holiday stress, but what is meant by that?” says psychology Assistant Professor Martha Wadsworth, citing the many factors that can increase stress this time of year, including being far from loved ones, suffering a recent loss or even trying to find the perfect gift.

“Problems are different for everyone.”

Wadsworth notes that once a person is aware of what is causing stress, they can begin to work through it.

But assuming that most people are dealing with having “too many things on their plate,” she offers some tips to relieve stress this time of the year:

· Look ahead to the upcoming season and what will make you happy. Be proactive.

· Remember that most winter holidays are about being with loved ones.

· Make the activities you must do fun by making them social, not just work.

· Try to cut back and minimize, if possible.

· Enjoy what’s going on around you by taking in the sights, smells and sounds; and try not to focus on the stress.

· Remind yourself that it’s not about the perfect gift.

· Don’t get stuck in definitions. Mix it up by trying a new approach to the way you celebrate the holidays.

· Spread the festivities out over a period of time.

· Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Remember, exercise is a great stress reliever.

This article originally appeared in The Source, December 2006.

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