The holiday season is in full-swing, and for many individuals and families, this time of year can be a cause for celebration, joy, and togetherness. While we may experience these warm and joyful feelings, we may also be inundated with additional stress brought on by the demands of the holiday season. Our experiences with loss, financial stress, or uncertainty with our own health or the health of a loved one may cause heightened feelings of being overwhelmed, sadness, or depressed.

Flagship Health is a provider of comprehensive primary care and wellness services and is focused on developing a social community among veterans and their families. To that end, our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kevin Dorrance, developed some tips to help manage stress around the holidays.

“The holidays can be overwhelming in so many ways, and I think one of the first things to remind ourselves is it’s normal to feel a little stressed, anxious, or even sad during this time of year,” Dr. Dorrance explained. “Below are some tips and ideas to help you manage the stress that the holiday season may bring.”

Develop a game plan.

It’s important to manage expectations during the holiday season. Whether that is with your time commitments or finances, developing a plan of how you will use your time and what a realistic budget might be will help you feel less anxious.

It’s okay to say no.

You may find yourself being invited to gatherings, parties, or to travel during the holiday season. While these social opportunities are often joyful and healthy, over-extending yourself may lead to less enjoyment of the activity itself. Tell yourself that it is okay to say no to the different opportunities that present themselves and stick to a schedule that is comfortable for you.

Continue practicing healthy lifestyle habits.

Going back to your game plan, continue with your exercise routine and try to be active as much as possible. Physical activity reduces stress. Additionally, aim to build in time to relax, read a book, watch your favorite holiday movie, and eat some healthy foods to help offset holiday treats.

Talk with your friends, loved ones, or a professional.

It’s okay to not feel the best during the holiday season. As Dr. Dorrance noted, some stress is normal. This can be offset by sharing your thoughts and feelings with a friend, loved one, or scheduling time with a professional. You are not alone and others care about you.

If you need assistance throughout the holiday season, Flagship Health is here to support you. Your health and wellness is our top priority – feel free to call us at 726-201-3660 or contact us online if we can be of assistance, and remember to take care of yourself during the holiday season.

988 – If you are experiencing a mental health emergency and are in immediate need of assistance, please reach out for support through a crisis phone or text line. Call the Military / Veteran Crisis Line by dialing 9-8-8 or text 838255.