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Give Yourself the Gift of a Stress-Free Holiday

MONDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- 'Tis the season to be jolly, not stressed out, and an expert offers some tips on how to take care of yourself during the holiday rush.

While it's easy to feel overwhelmed by all the shopping, planning and other tasks associated with the season, you need to take steps to keep your stress under control in order to protect your health, said Dr. Gary Kaplan, founder of the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine in McLean, Va.

"Stress is the way our body automatically responds to difficult situations. You may feel nervous, irritable and depressed, experience increased aches and pains, or you may just not feel like yourself," he said in a center news release.

Kaplan offered the following tips to relieve holiday stress:

  • Share the workload. Learn how to say "no" to requests for your time and delegate tasks to others when possible.
  • Keep it simple. Skip the shopping, make homemade gifts and spend quality time with family and friends.
  • Maintain your regular schedule as much as possible. Humans are creatures of habit and feel out of sorts when routines are disrupted.
  • Find ways to burn off physical and emotional tension. Vent to a friend, write about your feelings in a journal, go for a walk or take a bubble bath.
  • Look after your body. Eat a healthy diet, get plenty of exercise and do things that restore your energy, such as meditating or getting a massage.

More information

The American Psychological Association offers more ways to deal with holiday stress.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine, news release, Dec. 13, 2010

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