Tags: How | to | Enjoy | Stress-Free | Holidays | heart | problems

Strategies for Stress-Free Holidays

Monday, 10 December 2012 07:46 AM

Give yourself the gift of stress-free holidays this year, experts advise.

Holiday stress can increase some people's risk for heart problems, including heart attack, according to a Houston cardiologist.

"Stress and its many forms — be it emotional, financial or physical — can put undue pressure on your heart during a time that should be happy and joyous," Dr. Nasser Lakkis, chief of cardiology at Ben Taub Hospital in Houston, said in a Harris Health System news release.

"People don't always understand that stress can be in anything you do," said Lakkis, who also is a professor at Baylor College of Medicine. "It's all in how you deal with things. If you know that a family gathering is going to be stressful, just say no to the conflict. Holidays should be fun and enjoyable. Family disputes or disagreements should be put off for later when the time is right."

SPECIAL: These 4 Things Happen Right Before a Heart Attack — Read More.

There are many things you can do to reduce and control holiday stress, he noted, including:

• Trying to enjoy family get-togethers and taking them in stride.
• If you're alone, contacting friends or offering to do volunteer work.
• If finances are an issue, setting and sticking to a budget.
• Saying no to things you just can't do.
• Keeping your holiday expectations realistic to avoid disappointment.
• Planning some activities but not dwelling on things that go wrong.
• Limiting your alcohol and tobacco consumption.

In addition to stress, the holidays also are a time when many people become complacent about their health, Lakkis noted. They stop following healthy habits such as getting regular exercise and eating well, and might skip taking prescription medicines. Some people may even delay seeing a doctor even if they have signs of medical problems.

But Lakkis warned not to delay a visit to the doctor. A healthy you is the best gift you could offer your family
and that requires taking responsibility for your well-being.

SPECIAL: These 4 Things Happen Right Before a Heart Attack — Read More.

© HealthDay

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Holidays can bring anxiety but there are ways to make them stress free, experts advise, which is important for preventing heart problems.
Monday, 10 December 2012 07:46 AM
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