The holiday season in Southwest Florida can be fun! But it can also be very stressful.
“It’s tradition, and it’s family. And you have your regular job on top of everything else that needs to be done. So yeah, there is a lot of stress involved,” said Kathy Lemos, Clinical Mental Health Counselor.
The added stress could manifest into depression or anxiety, she explained.
In 2014, heart disease was the leading cause of death in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health, followed closely by stroke. Both of these medical episodes can be triggered by stress.
What’s more - heart-related deaths increase 5% during the holiday season, according to the American Heart Association.
“Anxiety causes a lot of things like heart palpitations, shortness of breath. You can have the blood pressure going up, and it can cause stroke and heart attack, so you’re looking at pretty major problems,” Lemos said.
Lemos suggested four tips to staying calm this holiday season.
1. MAKE LISTS
“The thing is, it helps you to organize your thoughts. When you have a list it helps you see, ‘oh I need to do this.’ Otherwise you may forget, and you’re like 'oh my gosh; I have to run and go get this stuff.'”
2. TAKE A BREAK
“Relax; give yourself 15 minutes of a break. Go and sit down,” Lemos said. “Just put on some music or drink some tea because self-care is a very big thing especially at holiday time.”
“Do deep breathing techniques,” Lemos said, “Slowly breathe in and out and do relaxation techniques; go from your head to your hands, tighten and relax.”
4. STAY POSITIVE
“It’s just one time of the year then you can go back to your normal self in January,” Lemos said.