Managing Stress

Before Year-End Stress Manages You

The year is nearly over. Before you know it, the roller coaster of traditional holidays from Thanksgiving through Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s will be here. Feeling stressed just thinking about it? Here’s what Kaori Sakurai, MD, board certified internist on-staff at Missouri Baptist Medical Center has to say about managing stress: The number one lifestyle challenge of most women is a combination of two types of stress – family and work. Women regularly ask themselves if they’re being a good mother, parent or wife, while trying to be the best at their jobs. Some people have the additional responsibilities of taking care of elderly parents or in-laws. The fact is, such stress can impact your general health, emotionally and physically. Do not underestimate the power of too much stress in your life. It’s important to manage your stress instead of allowing the stress to manage you.

Here’s how to create your plan to reduce stress:

Take an introspective approach. Ask yourself these questions:
1. What areas of stress are affecting me most?
2. Are symptoms occurring at home or work?
3. Am I overextending my time?
4. Am I taking at least 30 minutes each day to do something I like?
5. Am I exercising at least 30 minutes four to five days per week?
6. How is stress affecting my mood and interactions with family and friends?
7. What can I change?

If you’re experiencing chest pain, fatigue, irregular heartbeats, or shortness of breath, don’t assume its stress. While stress can lead to physical symptoms, it is essential that you speak with your physician about these symptoms.

Many people eat to relieve their stress, and gain unwanted pounds over the holidays. Here are some tips to help avoid that weight gain:

Set the stage for a successful outcome:

  • Recommit to daily exercise.
  • Eat normal meals prior to parties and family gatherings.
  • Take at least 20 minutes to eat your food and taste every bite.
  • Drink several glasses of water beforehand so you’re hydrated and feel less hungry.

Buffet Table Savvy:

  • Change your priority from going to eat, to seeing friends or family.
  • Use a smaller plate.
  • Go through the line only once.

Other Stress Relief Ideas:

  • Write down realistic, short-term goals in a journal. Instead of expecting to lose 50 pounds
    Overnight, start by losing a pound per week consistently.
  • Exercise 30 minutes, four to five days/week.
    Make it something you like doing.
  • Decide what’s most important, and then delegate the responsibility. Set limits and don’t be afraid to say ‘no’.
  •  Divide your time more wisely. Schedule 30 minutes/day to do something you enjoy.
  •  Set up a buddy system. Encourage each other by saying ‘what did we accomplish’?

When you feel the stress coming on remember, it’s all about balance.

Dr. Kaori Sakurai is board-certified in internal medicine. She earned her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine.

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