logo for integrative cardiologist Dr. Cynthia Thaik

How to Manage Holiday Stress

Lentil & Quinoa Tomato Soup

Holiday Stress Reduction Tips

Less holiday stress makes both your heart and life more joyful. The holidays are supposed to be a joyful time when you get to spend time with family and friends, celebrate another year gone by, and indulge in great food and drink. However, these things are precisely what makes the holidays the most stressful time of year for many people. In fact, heart attacks and other cardiac episodes are much more frequent around the holidays than any other time of year. The following are some valuable tips on how to decrease your stress levels over the Christmas and New Year period.

1. Be Mindful of Your Stress. When surrounded by loved ones, it may seem like a good idea to up the holiday cheer and pretend like everything is rosy, but by ignoring your true feelings, you only make things worse. Try to be aware of what you are feeling and acknowledge any stress you may be experiencing. You don’t have to act on it, but you should try to be present and recognize that it is there.
2. Accept the Things You Cannot Change. Let’s face it—certain relatives are never going to get along, your party may not go exactly as you planned it, and not everybody will appreciate that holiday spread you slaved so long over. But what can you do about it? Getting angry or upset won’t change anything, so you may as well accept it, forgive yourself and others, let it go and move on.
3. Be Grateful for the Good Things. With so much to plan and do come Christmas time, it can be hard to remember what the holidays are truly about, and that is love, laughter, generosity and gratitude. When you feel your temperature rising or anxiety setting in, take a moment to stop and appreciate the good things in your life. This can be anything from your health to your family, or even a burst of sunshine on an otherwise cloudy day.
4. Take Some Time Out. When the holiday chaos ensues, it is vital to take some much needed time out for yourself to relax and rebalance. I find meditation is one of the best ways to find peace and clarity. Other great ways to get grounded include exercise like yoga or tai chi, listening to music, sitting down with a good book, or simply taking a walk out in the fresh air.
5. Pass on the Love. Sure, giving gifts is all part of the Christmas spirit, but you don’t have to buy someone something to make them happy. Sometimes just a smile, some kind words, or a sincere offer of help is all that is needed to brighten someone’s day. And when you start putting those good vibrations out there, they are sure to come back to you.

Although the holidays can involve a whirlwind of activity, you don’t have to let your peace of mind spiral out of control. By being mindful, grateful, and good to yourself and others, you can ensure that your holiday season is less stressful and more joyful.

Wishing you and your loved ones a healthy , stress-free, and joyful holiday season.

About the author

Dr. Cynthia Thaik, M.D., FACC is a Harvard-trained cardiologist serving the greater Los Angeles community at her holistic health center in Burbank and Valencia, CA. Dr. Thaik is the author of Your Vibrant Heart: Restoring Health, Strength, and Spirit from the Body’s Core. To learn more about Dr. Thaik or the Holistic Healing Heart Center, or to schedule an appointment, please contact info@drcynthia.com or call (818) 842-1410.

Resource Links