ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The holidays are here and for many people, that can mean added pressure on their mind and body. Dr. Muskaan Behl from Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico discusses holiday stress, what causes it, and how it can impact your overall health.

Several factors cause holiday stress including:

  • Multiple demands on time
  • Pressure to purchase gifts during a potentialy financially difficult time
  • Missing loved ones

Stress can negatively impact your health by leading to fatigue, overeating, or undereating. Additionally, a combination of stress and fatigue can affect your body’s ability to ward off infections and can also lead to an inability to sleep.

Dr. Behl provides several examples of how to manage or reduce holiday stress including learning to say “no” to some demands on you and your time. It’s important to take some time in your schedule for yourself and to set realistic goals or expectations for yourself during the holidays.

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To help reduce stress, it’s also crucial to take control of your holidays by setting a budget and sticking with it. Also, don’t abandon your year-round health habits and make sure to get regular exercise and eat right. It also helps to take a breather for yourself by going for a walk, reading a book, or watching a movie.

A common health concern during the holidays includes overeating during the holidays due to stress. To prevent this, try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and don’t allow yourself to get very hungry by eating healthy snacks throughout the day.

By not allowing yourself to get too hungry, you reduce your chance of overeating and getting the urge to stuff yourself when you do eat. Enjoy the treats and special meals around the holidays but do so in moderation.

Additional information on managing holiday stress can be found at webmd.com.