Holiday Stress: Suggestions for Families with Hip Dysplasia
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Season’s Greetings, and Happy New Year to all of you who visit this website, especially to those who stay in touch on a regular basis. This is a time for joy and celebration but some may be dealing with difficult medical problems including the consequences of hip dysplasia for themselves or for their children. Our thoughts are with you as you suffer when others are celebrating.
Emotions run high during the holiday season. Most of the time the emotions are joyful, but more than half of all people in a recent survey reported some feelings of stress. One in five reported frequent feelings of stress and one in ten said they were downright irritable.
So, you’re not alone if you are having negative feelings this time of year. Sometimes the extra planning for the holidays may be especially difficult for those with pain or for those caring for friends and loved ones with health problems. This can add to the stress of an already busy season. Here are some tips to help make your season brighter.
- Admit to yourself and others that you cannot do all the things that are expected of you at this time of year. Set limits and ask for help. If you are hosting friends and family at your home, ask them to share the chores and set expectations for your own needs. You may be surprised how willingly everyone will pitch in if you ask them, but you need to ask them.
- Set reasonable goals for shopping, doing chores and also allow extra time for all the other people who are also shopping, doing chores, traveling, or working. Traffic is always worse during the holidays and sometimes people aren’t as pleasant as they should be during this important holiday season.
- Prioritize and plan in advance. These are similar to tips #1 and #2 except that you need to admit that you can’t do everything you’d like to do. Take a few minutes to list the things you’ll need to do in the next week and then throw out some of them or ask others to do it for you as we’ve suggested earlier.
- Get extra rest at night and even a nap during the day if possible. A twenty minute power nap has great restorative power that will give you energy for the rest of the day. Just excuse yourself and lay down when you feel your eyes getting heavy at any time during the day. We recommend this at work too, even if you’re sitting up. Just allow your eyes to close for a few minutes, and you’ll be more productive after a brief nap….tell your boss to blame it on us but to thank us for your extra afternoon effort J
- Eat healthy foods. That may be difficult to do when there is so much candy, chocolate, and other great tasting snacks everywhere you turn. There’s a tendency to eat too much at the office or at home and that can steal much needed energy. Make sure you get plenty of vitamin D during winter months especially if you live in a Northern climate with little sunshine exposure. Multivitamins and supplements can help make up for dietary insufficiencies but they are not an excuse to eat poorly. Dietary supplements including multivitamins are called “supplements” because they are added to a healthy diet. Otherwise, multivitamins would be called “substitutes” instead of “supplements”. Here’s a link to some food advice for stress relief. https://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/12/06/7-foods-to-calm-holiday-stress/
- Give lots of hugs and treat yourself to a massage if you can afford it. Positive physical contact helps release a hormone called Oxytocin. This hormone has also been called the “hormone of love and bonding” because it decreases stress and promotes positive social interactions.
- Find reasons to laugh because joyful laughter has numerous health benefits. Laughter releases endorphins that help maintain a sense of well-being. Endorphins may also decrease perception of pain and decrease the need for pain medications. Laughter also relaxes blood vessels and helps promote the immune response to fight off winter diseases that can make Holidays more stressful. Exactly how laughter does all these things isn’t known but take time to watch a comedy or seek the company of a person who makes you laugh. You’ll be glad you did.
We hope these tips make your holidays just a little bit more enjoyable.
From all of us here at IHDI, Happy Holidays