How to Avoid Stressing Out During the Holidays

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Many people love the Christmas season. But if you secretly feel a sense of dread this time of year, you're not alone. 

Holiday anxiety is a serious emotional and physical problem for many people. 

Decorating, shopping, cooking, and partying can all lead to less sleep, less exercise, and overindulging in unhealthy food. Add in the emotional overload of family visits and you have a recipe for holiday stress. 

Family therapist Cheryl Simmons tells her patients that de-stressing begins by changing your thoughts

"So much of the Christmas stress is truly about all these expectations and demands we put on ourselves," she said.

Simmons recommends making two lists: The "must-do's" and the "would-like-to-do's."

"If it isn't done by a certain point in time, let it go and be able take on a sense of peace," she said.

Five steps you can take to relieve holiday stress include:

  • Do less.
  • Simplify things.
  • Slow down.
  • Exercise.
  • Get adequate sleep.

Scaling back on holiday preparations turned out to be a blessing for Texas resident Candy Beneke. She was forced to pare-down this Christmas since her home is being repaired from water leak.

"Here's some of my decorations that won't get put out," she said.

Still, Beneke says the lighter load helped her remember the reason for the season.

"Remember what Christmas is about and that is about sharing your faith, sharing your love," Beneke said. "You have to focus that it's not really all about all the other things we do for it."

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CBN News
Lorie  Johnson

Lorie Johnson

CBN News Medical Reporter

Lorie Johnson reports on the latest information about health and wellness. Since medicine is constantly changing, she makes sure CBN News viewers are up-to-date on what they need to know in order to live a healthy life.  Follow Lorie on Twitter @LorieCBN and "like" her at