How Holiday Stress Affects Your Health

By Guest Editor on Dec 7, 2015

The holiday season is well under way and with it comes the stress of parties, gifts, travel, and finishing work before leaving for vacation. But stress can negatively impact your health, which is why it is important to take the time to relax and enjoy friends, family, and fun! Need more proof?

  • Excessive stress can contribute to everything from high blood pressure, asthma, ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome
  • Stress also increases a person's risk of cardiovascular disease or a serious coronary/cerebral event (heart attack or stroke)
  • During the holiday season, things like depression, social isolation, and a lack of quality social support system can be heightened, which have been shown to be as risky factors as smoking and high blood pressure
  • We may not know everything about the effects of stress, but it is known how stress affects behaviors and factors that impact the heart indirectly:
    • Higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels
    • Smoking and/or drinking
    • Physical inactivity and overeating
    • Poor sleep habits
  • Stress also releases adrenaline, which is supposed to help in temporary high-risk situation

Looking for proactive ways to eliminate holiday related stress? Try these tips!

  • Exercise
  • Keep a positive attitude
  • Refrain from smoking as a stress-reliever
  • Avoid over-caffeinating
  • Keep to that healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight 
  • Learn to identify how you normally respond to stress and note if your reaction is unhealthy so that you can choose a better solution, like the ones above! American Heart Association World Heart Federation The New York Times