Avoid alcohol to avoid holiday stress
From office parties to family gatherings, many holiday events include alcohol. But if you are suffering from stress or anxiety, alcohol is exactly what you need to avoid.
Though alcohol may initially make you feel more relaxed in stressful situations, research shows it can also trigger a stress response. Drinking alcohol causes your body to release hormones, such as cortisol, that make you feel more anxious. This can create a cycle of negative emotions, in which stress triggers alcohol cravings, and drinking increases your negative feelings and anxiety.
Drinking heavily can also lead to risky or inappropriate behavior, which can harm your personal and professional relationships. This is especially true if you have ever struggled with problematic drinking behaviors.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that women have no more than one alcoholic drink per day and men have no more than two. But if you are feeling particularly high levels of stress, you’ll be more able to manage your anxiety and negative emotions if you avoid alcohol completely.
Reduce stress with exercise
Exercise isn’t just good for your physical health;, it can also improve your mood and give you valuable alone time, something that is often in short supply during the holidays.
Research shows that exercise can reduce anxiety, improve self-esteem, and increase your overall sense of wellbeing. All of these factors can contribute to lower stress levels. Exercise that incorporates mindfulness or meditation may be particularly beneficial. Research has found that mind-body exercise practices like yoga can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
November 22, 2017
Janet O’Dell, RN