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Family wearing Santa hats gathers as older man plays a keyboard while holding a boy on his knee

Office Visit: How to Fend Off the Holiday Blues

By Todd Hoffman, M.D.

The holidays can bring out an array of emotions in us. Some fill us with joy while others fill us with stress.

Stress can arise from financial concerns, awkward social situations during seasonal parties, hosting family or friends, remembering the loss of a family member or loved one, the pressure of high expectations during the holiday, and the impact of changes in diet and sleep. No matter what form it comes in, stress can make the holiday season a time some dread.

However, the holidays don’t have to be this way. Here are a few tips to help fend off holiday stress, according to the Mayo Clinic Health System.

  • Plan ahead — Organize your holiday activity commitments in advance. If you’re hosting, create a menu ahead of time.
  • Just say ‘no’ — It’s OK to say no when needed and helps relieve some stress.
  • Plan spending — Make a budget and stick to it.
  • Create relaxing surroundings — Turn on some music, add relaxing lighting or open the windows to improve your mood.
  • Maintain healthy habits — Consistent physical activity and a healthy diet help can improve stress levels.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma Chief Medical Officer Dr. Todd Hoffman

Todd Hoffman, M.D.

  • Share feelings — After a loss in the family, the holidays may be difficult. It may make you feel better to share.
  • Respect differences — Family members may have different viewpoints. Focus on the similarities and replace tension with something productive.
  • Take a break — Spend time taking care of yourself during the holidays. Do things you enjoy. 

The holidays can be a stressful time, so make sure to prioritize your own health throughout the season.

Let’s make it a good month!

Todd Hoffman, M.D., C.P.E., is chief medical officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, a division of Health Care Service Corp., a Mutual Legal Reserve Company.

A Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association