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    Healthy for the Holidays: Mayo Clinic Health System provides tips for combatting stress this season

a woman tired and stressed during the holidays, holding her head in her hands with presents and wrapping paper everywhere

MANKATO, Minn. ― During the holiday season, it is easy to get caught up in the stress and chaos that can accompany this time of the year. Already demanding lives become even more hectic as last-minute shopping, cooking and spending combine to add even more anxiety.

For many people, the result can be overwhelming.

“What if there was a way you could plan ahead to counter the stress? Start with identifying the issue,” says Lisa Hardesty, clinical health psychologist, Mayo Clinic Health System. “Note that the busyness of the season is a certainty, and instead of avoiding the potential stress, face it head on.”

Next, she said, remind yourself of when you overcame difficult times. Build on this by broadening the sense of your abilities.

Here are a few tips to help.

1. Make a plan for the holidays.

Instead of planning to de-stress from the inevitable, try to embrace the hectic holidays by prepping for a busy holiday season. Helpful tips can make this holiday season the most relaxing and enjoyable yet.

2. Practice holiday resilience by asking yourself these questions:

  • What resources do you need to feel confident about facing the upcoming season?
  • Who will support you when needed?
  • What would you like to remember about this season after it's done?
  • If you knew this was your last holiday, what would you prioritize?
  • What barriers to joy and happiness will you face during the upcoming months, and how can you overcome them one by one?

3. Overcome challenges with positivity.

Learn how to stay ahead of holiday stress and see it as a challenge rather than a threat. Consider this a marathon and not a sprint. Practice slow, steady movements to approximate your desired behaviors and thoughts over time.

Along the way, expect the unexpected, as life rarely goes as planned. Allowing yourself flexibility in thinking and planning can go a long way toward fostering good health and well-being.

“Over time, and with practice, you can strengthen your emotional muscle and find that challenges get easier,” Hardesty says. “Remember to think positively. For instance, if you tell yourself that today will be a bad day, you're more likely to experience a negative mood and feel overwhelmed. Instead, tell yourself that today may be a hard day, but you've tackled problems more significant than this in the past. Small changes matter and allow you to better prepare for the upcoming holiday season challenges.”


About Mayo Clinic Health System

Mayo Clinic Health System has a physical presence in 44 communities and consists of 53 clinics, 16 hospitals and other facilities that serve the health care needs of people in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The community-based providers, paired with the resources and expertise of Mayo Clinic, enable patients in the region to receive the highest-quality physical and virtual health care close to home.

Media contact:

Amanda Dyslin, Mayo Clinic Health System Public Affairs, 507-327-7510, dyslin.amanda@mayo.edu.